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What’s next for Paul Hotker

By Monday 24 June 2024July 25th, 2024No Comments

After 17 years at Bleasdale in Langhorne Creek and a swag of accolades including the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy, top winemaker Paul Hotker has revealed what he’s doing next.

“I am heading out to offer my services on a consultancy basis to a wider audience,” he says.

Most of his time will be spent at Longview Vineyard, with whom he has been working for six years, predominantly on red wine.

Paul has been appointed head of winemaking at Longview on a contract basis, starting 1 July.

“However, this is not a full-time role and I am seeking expressions of interest from wineries that would like help to make better wine and run their wineries more efficiently,” he says.

“I had ideas about starting a new venture along these lines a few years ago, but Covid, bushfires, smoke taint, export challenges and a lack of a succession plan narrowed my focus while this was addressed.”

Paul says Longview owner Peter Saturno has introduced him to the “rather expensive but delicious habit” of enjoying the wines of Piedmont.

“The passion and drive everyone at Longview has for Barbera – and Nebbiolo, particularly – is infectious and the vineyard also produces excellent examples of some Adelaide Hills modern classics,” he says.

“Having spent six years getting to know each other, I am confident that I can make a great contribution to an already-excellent business and the increase in my time and focus will help consolidate and support their plans.

“Longview is a terrific vineyard, with diverse slopes and aspects, soil types and varietal spread, along with one of the best mesoclimates of the Hills.

“They are a driven team that like to have fun while growing amazing fruit and producing compelling and delicious wines – what more could I ask for?

“I’m excited about spending more time with the determined Peter Saturno, the energetic yet contemplative Chris Mein in viticulture, and enjoying guidance from chair and long-term personal mentor Brian Walsh.

“And I’m sure more than a few long lunches with the Saturno family!”

Paul says Bleasdale is in good hands with his successor, Matt Laube.

“There have been four cracking vintages in a row at Bleasdale and there is plenty of good stuff in tank,” he says.

“Matt will very ably succeed me in the senior winemaking role assisted by Sam Rowlands, a winemaker with a viti background who joined Bleasdale two years ago – from Longview.

“They have an excellent cellar team and Sarah Keough remains in place as viticulturist and knows the blocks and growers after years with Bleasdale and many more in the Creek.”

During his time at Bleasdale, Paul led the team that collected over 85 trophies and 330 (and counting) gold medals for Bleasdale and clients across a broad range of varietals and blends.

“I didn’t do it on my own, a great team remains in place,” he says.

“I’m confident the legacy of consistent improvement in all things viti/vini remains strong at Bleasdale and I plan to continue to help wherever I can.

“We have worked closely for many years and the production team remain my friends; I’m just down the road and I am ‘on tap’ to them for advice with the curly ones or just a chat and a beer.

“I’m also keen to continue spending time at the winery to assist clients, both new and existing, including Longview as I progress into the next chapter.”

Paul says that with the wine sector going through another challenging period, it’s never been more important for wine businesses to make better wine and remain competitive.

“I am focusing on my key strengths, adding value and improving winemaking and production systems from vineyard to winemaking both from a quality and efficiency perspective,” he says.

“I am offering audits and recommendations of process by variety, red or white, winery or full portfolio reviews with viticulture and winemaking recommendations to match client aspirations in wine quality and qualities.

“I can also assist with classification tastings, wine assessment or guidance and assistance at the blending bench.”

Photograph: Chris Mein, Paul Hotker and Peter Saturno.

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