Sue Hodder

Wynns Coonawarra Estate

2022 marks Sue Hodder’s 30th vintage at the iconic Wynns Coonawarra Estate. We spoke with Hodder, who was the 2010 The WINE Magazine Winemaker of the Year, about her career and her advice for aspiring winemakers and viticulturists. 

Tell us about your approach to viticulture and winemaking. 
At Wynns, we are fortunate to have a detailed and well-recorded viticultural history. We turn to the past to inform the present and the future; however, we are strong believers in scientific collaborations and believe in accurate, scientific outcomes that give us the scope to be more creative in winemaking. We like a hands-off approach and, ultimately, we make a medium bodied wine style that has great cellaring potential. We want to make the wines that our vineyards give us, and our viticulture and winemaking is geared in this direction. 

Do you have any memorable moments in your career thus far? 
Yes, many. A highlight was our 60 years of Wynns Black Label Cabernet tasting. It was an amazing event on so many levels, including the wines, the stories, the people and the opportunity we have with this chapter of the Australian wine story. What also stands out for me is how proud I have felt to represent these wines when I have tasted them around the world in different markets. Their quality and heritage has been evident.

What have been the biggest changes and trends in the industry in the
Past 30 years? 
First and foremost is obviously climate change and how it has informed everything we do now, including our approach to water, land and winemaking. In the past 30 years, there’s also been an increased interest in new varietals; however, as a classic label, there is still a lot of research, innovation and scope for us with cabernet sauvignon at Wynns.

What is your advice for young viticulturists and winemakers? 
To keep an open mind and don’t dismiss everything that’s gone before you. It had different context and may have some relevance to the future and the present. Besides that: travel widely, drink widely and listen widely.