Beringer Blass, the newly formed wine company created by the merger between Mildara Blass and Beringer Wines, opened a $A30m Wolf Blass winery today in Barossa Valley. The winery is part of a 10-year plan for the flagship brand.

The winery, which Terry Davis, Beringer Blass's MD, called "the world's most advanced premium winery" has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes of grapes in the 2001 vintage. It also has been designed to allow for expansion of up to 75,000 tonnes.

The increased productivity was designed to cater for the increasing needs of the US wine market, which is especially important after the merger with Beringer Wine Estates.

Davis said that Australia's investment in wine processing capacity had not kept up with increased vineyard planting. He continued that it was remarkable Wolf Blass had managed to do so well in red wine production while having to outsource all grape-crushing activity.