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Wolf Blass: Australia will hit rock bottom

Australia will hit rock bottom in the face of competition from South Africa, veteran winemaker Wolf Blass has warned.

At the inaugural Barossa Generations lunch at the Peter Lehmann winery, 300 Barossa wine industry insiders – including Wolf Blass, Yalumba’s Robert Hill-Smith, Ben Glaetzer of Glaetzer Wines and Langmeil’s James Lindner – debated various issues.

Blass called the funding system for overseas promotion of ‘overproduced wine’ from irrigated Australian fruit ‘idiotic’.

‘Parasitic and idiotic funding systems for overseas promotion mean that overproduced wine from Australian irrigated fruit will hit rock bottom, facing competition from South Africa,’ Wolf Blass warned.

He said Barossa should focus on what it does best: full-bodied Shiraz. But he also stressed, ‘No table wine over 15% should ever get any medal, anywhere in the world, ever.’

Other contentious topics included an irrigation ban, whether the region should pull more vines, and whether Barossa reds are too alcoholic.

Hill-Smith disagreed with Blass’s contention that Barossa should focus on Shiraz.

Instead he proposed that sub-regionally defined Shiraz styles and experimental plantings of different clones would help Barossa to ‘shake off the “big Shiraz” stereotypes’.

Written by Catherine Woods in Adelaide

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