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Tuesday 18 June 2024

Star winemaker has a dual focus moving forward


Star winemaker Paul Hotker may have resigned after 17 years at Bleasdale in Langhorne Creek, but he has no intention of winding down. 

Hotker is taking up a new role as head of winemaking Longview Vineyards in the Adelaide Hills from July 1, as well as establishing his own wine consultancy. 

Hotker says he will be "offering my services on a consultancy basis to a wider audience". 

"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," he says. 

" 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. 

" 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."

Hotker says he expects to spend the lion’s share of his time at Longview Vineyard, with whom he  has been working as a consultant, predominantly on red wine, over the past six years. 

Longview has multiple trophies and gold medals for its cabernet sauvignon and syrah wines, including a cabernet trophy at Melbourne Royal and red wine of show for syrah at last year’s Adelaide Hills Wine Show.

"I had ideas about starting a new [consultancy] 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 whilst this was addressed," he said. 

"There have been four cracking vintages in a row at Bleasdale and there is plenty of good stuff in tank. Matt Laube 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 viticulturalist and knows the blocks and growers after years with Bleasdale and many more in ‘The Creek’."

During his time with Bleasdale, the team collected over show 85 trophies and 330 gold medals for Bleasdale and clients. 

At Longview, Hotker will work with the Saturno family. 

"The passion and drive all at Longview have 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 meso-climates of ’The Hills’. They are a driven team that like to have fun whilst growing amazing fruit and producing compelling and delicious wines… what more could I ask for?"

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