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Wednesday 8 May 2024

Leading winemaker stands down after 17 years

Paul Hotker is standing down as Bleasdale senior winemaker after 17 very successful years in charge.

Hotker has been a key figure in establishing the Langhorne Creek winery as one of the most consistent and best-value wineries in Australia.  

It was announced today that Hotker will hand the senior winemaker reins Matt Laube, but will stay on with the Potts family as a consultant. 

Bleasdale is one of Australia's longest-operating wine producers with a track record dating back 174 years. 

Laube has worked alongside Hotker as the operations winemaker for the past 15 years, so is fully conversant with the Bleasdale ethos and history. 

As he steps into the senior winemaking role, he will be assisted by Sam Rowlands, who has been promoted to winemaker as part of a long-term succession plan. 

Bleasdale employed Laube after he did vintages at Yalumba, Bay of Fires in Tasmania and in Oregon. 

Hotker has great confidence in Laube's skills. 

“We know how each other thinks, preferences and approaches to wine," he said. 

"We always look for the positive in each vintage, vineyard, and barrel, what it brings to the blend and how we can improve the result. For 90% of the time, we’re on the same page, and the other 10% involves some robust discussion, but we’re mates, so we get there in the end.” 

Former Nautilus winemaker Hotker has established himself as one of Australia’s leading winemakers, and during his leadership the Bleasdale team has collected over 80 trophies and 300 gold medals for Bleasdale and its clients.

Robert Edwards, chair of the Bleasdale board for the past 10 years, believes Hotker has displayed an unparalleled commitment to getting the wine right during his tenure at Bleasdale.

“During Paul’s career at Bleasdale, the winery has won many awards and trophies, including the 2018 Halliday Winemaker of the Year, the 2019 Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy, the 2018 Max Schubert Trophy, and the 2024 Halliday Winery of the Year," he said. 

"This is no easy feat, Paul and his team have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of our wines each and every year.” 

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