Beringer Blass Wine Estates opened its new A$30 million (US$15.3 million) Wolf Blass winery, in South Australia's Barossa Valley, on March 1. The project is the first step in a 10-year development plan for the home of Wolf Blass wines, the flagship Australian brand of Beringer Blass, the new company created by the merger of Australia's Mildara Blass and California's Beringer Wine Estates.
The new winery will serve as the headquarters for the company, and will be making, blending and bottling wines from all over South Australia.
"We set out to build Australia's dream winery," said Beringer Blass managing director Terry Davis, in his address at the grand opening. "The top priority was to give our winemakers unrivaled flexibility and efficiency in winemaking options."
Davis noted that Australia's wine-processing capacity has not kept pace with the country's new vineyard plantings. Wolf Blass, which was founded in 1973, previously had to outsource its grape-crushing activity; the new facility will allow it to continue expanding its brands.
The new winery will process 22,000 tons of grapes during the 2001 harvest and has been designed to allow for expansion up to 82,500 tons. Facilities include a range of fermenters -- from the traditional 27.5-ton static and 44-ton rotary styles to an 11-ton stainless steel open fermenter for small-batch, high-quality wines. The same flexibility has been designed into grape pressing and storage tanks. There is also the latest quality-analysis equipment, and a variety of small-capacity refrigeration tanks for more experimentation.
"This increased flexibility and focus on experimentation will enable our winemakers to be able to maximize wine quality at each price point and to explore new wine styles," said Chris Hatcher, Beringer Blass' chief winemaker in Australia. "In particular, I am looking forward to developing several new super quality high-end wines."
Check our recent ratings of Wolf Blass wines.
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