Chris Hatcher: Fun and Enjoyable Wines

“Everyone’s a wine expert,” says Chris Hatcher, one of Australia’s leading winemakers and respected wine show judges.”

“Everyone’s a wine expert,” says Chris Hatcher, one of Australia’s leading winemakers and respected wine show judges.”

CHRIS HATCHER has been the chief winemaker of Australian wine giant Wolf Blass, one of the world’s most successful and awarded wine brands with more than 3,000 medals and trophies, for the past 20 years.

“Everyone’s a wine expert,” he repeats. “It’s just that they don’t think they are. You don’t have to be an expert, to know what you enjoy.”

Chris grew up in a Methodist family where alcoholic drinks were shunned upon. Naturally, Chris’ first interest into wine started as curiosity in the forbidden object.

“When I was about 11 years old my older sister won a bottle of wine in a raffle.  The bottle just sat in our cellar and I was always fascinated by it,” he reminisced.

Young Chris wanted to be a doctor. “But I faint at the sight of blood, so I went to pursue science at university, studying microbiology and organic chemistry.”

At the end of his first year, he took a year off to earn some money. As fate has it, he got a job in the laboratory at the Australian Wine Research Institute. It fueled his passion for wine; after finishing his degree, he started working for a winery.

He quickly gained reputation and Wolf Blass AM himself chased him for three years to join the company. Chris finally joined Wolf Blass in 1987 as senior winemaker for white and sparkling wines. He was trusted as the company’s chief winemaker in 1996 and  has been responsible for numerous awards for both the Wolf Blass range and achieved many accolades personally.


“I started with drinking cheap sparkling wine. Everyone has to start somewhere,” said Chris who had his first vintage in 1976.

“I think a problem in wine industry is we intimidate people too much, we make wine hard for them. Mr. Blass approach in wine is that it should be fun and enjoyable at whatever price point.”

“If you now what you like that’s the most important thing. If you like fish with your red wine, that’s fine. Wine and food should be a personal thing; no one should tell you what to do,” he said.

As a scientist, Chris loves sharing how winemakers make wine to taste certain way; but as a big food lover, he also enjoys sharing ways to enjoy wine with food.

“My wife cooks a lot of Asian style, fusion food.  I love pairing her green curry chicken with Chardonnay, they go really well. BBQ and good red wine, of course, but nothing can beat  prawn with Riesling on a summer day,” Chris said with a big smile.

For spicy food like Indonesian cuisine, Chris suggested to go with Chiraz. “Spicy food and Australian Chiraz is a good mix. Wine with strong tannins would fight with spicy food, so Cabergnet is more suited with plainer beef dish.”

But, the bottom line is wine should be fun, interesting and enjoyable. “Some want to learn more about the drink, but some are just happy drinking wine,” he concluded.

Cheers to that!

Instagram: @woldblasswines
Facebook: woldblasswines
Twitter: @woldblasswines

Written by Andre Arditya October 10, 2016.