Wolf Blass is owned by Treasury Wine Estates

Wolf Blass is owned by Treasury Wine Estates

The founder of Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) label Wolf Blass has branded small Australian wineries “parasites” and New Zealand the “black sheep” of the industry, according to a report.

Wolfgang Blass told an American Chamber of Commerce forum last week that Australia's wine makers should contribute to a marketing fund to share the burden of reviving the country's overseas reputation, The Australian reported today (19 August). Blass accused too many smaller labels of enjoying a free ride from bigger producers. 

“We should have a levy on most winemakers,” he said. “There are a lot of parasites in this country who don't contribute to the marketing of their product.”

Blass also said New Zealand wineries have “flooded” the Australian market while claiming AUD30m (US$27.5m) in rebates.

“The black sheep are the New Zealanders,” Blass reportedly said.

“We pay them a rebate and import their product... the tax is hurting us: we need the AUD30m to promote our product overseas.” 

Blass reportedly told the forum that Australian wines are facing difficulties internationally because they have lost their reputation for quality due to heavy discounting.

TWE is sponsoring The Ashes cricket series in England, through its Wolf Blass brand, and last month signed up two former England cricket captains for a TV push.