Australia’s award-winning winery Wolf Blass brought back the Wolf Blass Academy to Indonesia in April to share its knowledge and expertise with aspiring individuals in the hospitality industry.

The winery, which was founded in Barossa Valley in 1966, aims to empower Academy participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide their customers with a memorable Australian wine experience.

The Wolf Blass Academy was held for the first time in Indonesia in 2015. This year, however, the workshop expanded to Bandung, Surabaya and Bali as well due to increasing demand.

The Academy was led by Stuart Rusted, who changed his career path from being an investment banker to becoming Wolf Blass Ambassador and Winemaker and is currently based in Singapore.

“[The Academy] is a great opportunity for us to share our love for wine,” he said. “The people who attend can build some basic skills and understanding and to take that forward into their work place and build up confidence. I always think of it like teaching someone to play golf. I can show you how to hold the golf club and tell you the rules, but you still have to go and practice to master it.”

More than 400 participants from the Indonesian hospitality industry joined the workshop to learn more about the major wine regions of Australia as well as fundamental wine knowledge such as winemaking techniques, wine tasting, food pairing, storage and service in an intensive 4-hour session that ended with a dinner as part of the wine-food pairing exercise.

“Be it in retail or in service, if the staff is a little bit more confident, then the customers will be more confident and their enjoyment is increased as well,” Stuart said. “I think what we all need to remember is that wine is fermented grape juice, it’s not rocket science. The more we can show people the basic principles behind winemaking, the more relaxed they will be.”

Wolf Blass wines are known across the world for their drinkable and enjoyable characters.

“When Wolf came [from Germany] to Australia as a winemaking consultant, the wine culture was very different from today,” Stuart explained, adding that drinking wine was seen as something elitist and mysterious that only the wealthy could afford.

“Wolf wanted to make wine that everybody can enjoy, so he started to make soft and drinkable wine and it became very successful. Wolf sums up his philosophy in three words: the wines must have quality, character and consistency.”

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge is a previous editor of NOW! Jakarta. An experienced writer and avid bookworm.