One of Australia's greatest wine makers has now put his legacy collection of awards, art and memorabilia on display in Hahndorf. Wolf Blass and his wife, Shirley Nyberg-Blass, have created an accessible, charming and comfortable space in which to enjoy local wines, beers and other refreshments along with local produce platters, tapas plates, or a pizza menu full of inspired pizzas made from local produce.
The Wolf Blass Gallery and Museum opened in 2018 right next to the Adelaide Hills Information Centre in the heart of the bustling main street. It occupies the former site of the 1912 State Bank building and the 1854 school-house, which is now preserved as a must-see building within a building.
The stone walled buildings have been sympathetically preserved and enhanced. They make an excellent housing for this spacious and interesting gallery. The gallery is mainly about the life and wine making history of Wolf Blass, one of Australia's pioneering wine makers and national characters. There's plenty of trophies and memorabilia from his interesting and successful exploits on display along with some fine local art and preserved items.
The Cooperage is contained within the old school-house and houses a collection of original tools used in making wine barrels. Other artfully restored winemaking equipment is on display around the rooms.
The main bar (Wolfie's Horse Bar) is where you'll need to go to get a table or to order drinks and food. You can't miss it at the heart of the building with its beautiful pressed copper detail. You can have a drink at the bar and choose from the tables in the gallery or museum, or maybe sit on the balcony, looking out over a grassy backyard gently sloping away to the local creek.
As it's a gallery and museum brought to you by a wine maker I'll start with the drinks list. Obviously, Wolf Blass wines are the only choice but that's not a problem at all. There's sparkling wine, white wine, rose, red wine and port. The bar also mixes up a seasonal gluhwein to warm cold tummies in winter. It's worth taking the opportunity to try a few wines from different Wolf Blass labels to get a sense of the different qualities of each. The range of beers is mostly local from Prancing Pony, Coopers and Lobethal Bierhaus although there are a couple of German beers. The ciders are from Hills Cider Company.
The Wolf Blass Museum and Gallery isn't exactly a restaurant but the food experience matches my expectations of one. The tapas plates include all the regulars like bread and dukkah, local olives, dips and crackers along with delicious and exotic tastes like the sautéed chorizo and prawns with preserved lemon that we tried.
The range of pizzas goes from good old margherita to wild combinations like pear, gorgonzola, prosciutto and walnut, or salami, blue gum honey and chilli jam. The stone baked pizza bases are crispy, light and perfect for such fresh and interesting toppings.
Grazing platters are always at the top of my list and the Hahndorf Platter is a brilliant option to go with tasting a few different wines. Platter items change seasonally and with availability but the Monforte cheese by Section 28 at Woodside on our platter was so amazing that we immediately went to the local cheese shop to find some to take home (no luck so far). The smoked duck sausage is a delicious and memorable surprise. Everything on our platter was excellent. The share platters are a great way to experience local flavours.
The Wolf Blass Gallery and Museum is an excellent example of why Hahndorf continues to grow in popularity as a tourism destination. It's open Monday and Thursday 11am – 5pm, Friday 11am – 9pm, Saturday 11am – 7pm and Sunday 11am – 5pm. Call (08) 7078 9920 to book or get more info here.