Inside amazing world of Blass winemaking family
NEVER bury your head in the sand: that is the number one piece of advice from iconic winemaker Wolf Blass to his children.
"If things are going down . . . you have to show your children that you love them, despite the fact that things are going wrong," Blass told a South Australian newspaper in 2011.
"Never put your head in the sand: a confrontation must take place if something is not going right, but it has to be done in a manner so the younger generation can understand what you're talking about.
"I'm a disciplinarian and it's very hard with the younger generation to implant the way I have been brought up."
Despite attempts to contact him, his views on the behaviour of one of his four children - son Anton Blass, on trial for assault on the Gold Coast this week - are unclear. Blass has pleaded not guilty.
Blass, 34, spent two hours in the witness stand detailing his lovemaking prowess ("I'm a great lover"); giving the prosecutor sex advice on how to extend his erection ("I used to suffer from premature ejaculation but now I go on forever thanks to 25mg of Zoloft"); and, bizarrely bragging that he has enough money to make the prosecutor go "bye-bye."
It was a bizarre display and one Magistrate Louise Shepherd lost her patience with a number of times, reminding him to sit up properly, stop swearing and to stop rolling his eyes.
As well as being part of the wealthy winemaking family, Blass chose to work outside the industry, instead running a multimillion-dollar deep sea fishing business in the Great Australian Bight.
Sea Eagle Fishing Adventures was set up by Blass Snr in 2007 for his then 23-year-old son, which according to him at the time cost a "bucket of money" and been an emotional rollercoaster.
"But I can't stop my son's enthusiasm to be a fisherman."
And in the witness box, Anton was sure to mention his father in his testimony a number of times.
"My father is the most important person in my life," he said. "Me and my father love women and think the worst crime is domestic violence."
Born in East Germany in 1934, Wolf Blass became a political refugee before setting foot on
Australian soil with a mere 300 pounds in his pockets in 1961.
Blass, now in his 80s, was a qualified winemaker and chemist who migrated to Australia under a three-year contract with Kaiser Stuhl Cooperative in the Barossa Valley to work as their sparkling wine manager.
In 1966, he started his business with a $2000 overdraft, building it into one of Australia's best known wine brands, as well as becoming one of the pioneers of exporting our product to a global market.
He became a well-known figure on the Adelaide social scene and was married a number of times, producing four children, Susan, Sharon, Anton and Darren, and grandchildren Braiden and Shae.
Brought up in East Germany until he was nine, then separated from his parents and living in hostels in West Germany, Blass said because of the war years he didn't have the normal
childhood that most of us have.
He famously spent $30,000 on a train set modelled on a traditional German gothic village for his 57th birthday in 1991, which Anton then aged eight was not allowed to play with.
"Obviously I have become a child again, otherwise I wouldn't have this...'' he said at the time
"Little boys always suffer,'' he said, "as fathers only ever really have train sets to play with themselves.''
Blass, 34, has been on trial in Southport District Court this week on two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, for which he has pleaded not guilty.
Blass has been accused of punching his former partner in the face before hurling her into a bedframe at Focus Apartments in Surfers Paradise on September 8 last year.
A verdict will be handed down next week.