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Paul Hotker steps down as senior winemaker at Bleasdale Vineyards

By J'aime Cardillo

8 May, 2024

After 17 vintages at Bleasdale Vineyards, senior winemaker Paul Hotker is passing the baton to Matt Laube.

There's about to be a changing of the guard at Langhorne Creek winery, Bleasdale Vineyards. After 17 vintages, senior winemaker Paul Hotker will step aside for operations winemaker Matt Laube to take the reins.

The duo have worked together for the past 15 years, and this succession plan has been in the works for the last two years. 

"We know how each other thinks, preferences and approaches to wine. 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 per cent of the time, we’re on the same page, and the other 10 per cent involves some robust discussion, but we’re mates, so we get there in the end," says Paul.

Matt Laube and Paul HotkerBleasdale's Matt Laube and Paul Hotker.

As Matt steps into the role of senior winemaker, Sam Rowlands will be promoted to winemaker.

Paul's tenure at Bleasdale has been nothing short of impressive, collecting more than 80 trophies and 300 gold medals. Bleasdale was also Halliday Wine Companion's 2024 Winery of the Year, the 2021 The Iron Duke Cabernet Sauvignon took out the 2024 Cabernet Sauvignon of the Year, while the 2021 Wellington Road Shiraz Cabernet took home the 2024 Cabernet Shiraz Blends of the Year.

"The winemaker’s first job is to preserve the fruit to be enjoyed for years as a preserved capsule of the time and place. Matt knows our vineyards, people, and the winery intimately, and after years of working together, we’ve developed an excellent partnership. With four great vintages in a row, plenty of good wine in the pipeline and a continuous improvement culture that we have built together, now is the time for me to move on and allow Matt to take the lead," says Paul.

Paul will stay on at Bleasdale in a consulting capacity. Matt will take over as senior winemaker this month.