On Monday 15 November, Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) President Brooke Howell announced two new Fellows of the Society: Sue Hodder and Peter Clingeleffer. ASVO Fellows are bestowed with this honour for their contribution to the grape and wine industry and to the Society.
Sue joined Wynns Coonawarra Estate in 1993. Five years later she became the winery’s first female chief winemaker.
Sue worked closely with viticulturist Allen Jenkins to rejuvenate the old vines and reconstruct the vineyards, heralding a new era for Wynns and the entire Coonawarra region. Sue and her team continue to adopt more sustainable viticulture methods, including better soil moisture management and maintaining a stronger focus on vine health.
Sue has contributed to the research, development and assessment of new clones and rootstocks for the next generation of Cabernet Sauvignon in Coonawarra since 2004 – starting with 50 vintages of Wynns Black Label Cabernet.
This sample set has provided an insight into tannin evolution for Australian wine. Sue was also involved in a subsequent AWRI project on berry sorter/grader installation to verify the benefits of vision technology for top level fruit sorting.
Sue was a Committee member (10 years), Chair (4 years) and Chief Judge of the Royal Adelaide Wine Show and was pivotal to the development of Provenance classes – initiated at the Adelaide wine show during Sue’s chairmanship.
Sue has judged at many regional, capital city and international wine shows, mentoring associate judges, providing feedback to committees and judging collaboratively with her peers. She has been involved in the Australian Cabernet Symposium, including hosting it in Coonawarra three times.
Sue also provided data, opinion and wine to researchers, panel leaders and suppliers to participate in the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference.
Sue was President of Coonawarra Vignerons immediately before the merging of the Vignerons and Grape Grower Associations. She is a current member of the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council in an independent community nominated board position.
Sue commenced her career as a Viticultural Technical Officer working for Penfolds on defining attributes of high-quality Shiraz fruit and her initial agricultural qualifications provided a foundation and understanding of environment, plant, and soil interactions.
Sue’s input has been integral to the extensive viticultural innovation, renovation, and replanting of Wynns vineyards since 2000.
The ASVO Fellows advisory committee commented that Sue is a quiet achiever, often putting others before her.
They also said she is still very active in industry and for ASVO and has contributed across both winemaking and viticulture and is a very worthy recipient of Fellow of the Society.