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Bleasdale Vineyards announce changing of the guard

After 17 successful vintages at the helm, Paul Hotker will hand the Senior Winemaker reigns to Matt Laube at Bleasdale Vineyards.

After leading Bleasdale Vineyards through an incredibly successful 17 vintages, Paul Hotker will pass the Senior Winemaker torch to Matt Laube this month.

Bleasdale Vineyards, located in Langhorne Creek, celebrates a rich history as one of Australia’s most esteemed wineries, consistently producing impressive wines. This year marks a significant milestone as the winery celebrates 174 years of continuous winemaking by the direct descendants of the founding Potts family.

Having served as the Operations Winemaker alongside Paul for the past 15 years, Matt brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in Bleasdale winemaking. He will step into the role of Senior Winemaker, supported by Sam Rowlands, who has been promoted to Winemaker as part of a succession plan developed nearly two years ago.

Prior to joining Bleasdale, Matt gained experience at renowned wineries such as Yalumba, Bay of Fires, and in Oregon. Like Paul, he shares a background in horticulture and a deep passion for wine, food, flavour, and culinary arts.

Paul believes that their diverse yet complementary backgrounds have been instrumental in crafting Bleasdale wines side by side for many 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% 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,” Paul said.

Paul has firmly established himself as one of Australia’s foremost winemakers. Under his guidance, the Bleasdale team has amassed an impressive collection of over 80 trophies and 300 gold medals for both Bleasdale and its clientele. Bleasdale has consistently clinched the prestigious ‘Best Red Wine of Show’ trophy at nearly all of Australia’s top wine competitions.

Since assuming his role as a key custodian in 2007, Paul has been dedicated to ensuring that Bleasdale wines showcase distinct varietal and regional characteristics above all else.

“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,” said Paul.

Paul gained valuable experience in various positions across Australia both before and during his studies. Upon graduating from the University of Adelaide (Waite) in 2002, he embarked on his professional journey as Vineyard Manager and Assistant Winemaker at Nautilus Wines in New Zealand. In October 2007, he transitioned to winemaking at Bleasdale, where he earned the admiration of the Australian wine community, including recognition from James Halliday.

“There’s an argument to say that the Bleasdale winery, both historically and most certainly at the
hand of winemaker Paul Hotker, should be regarded as every Australian wine lover’s best friend,”
said James.

“There was no doubt a great foundaMon and culture to build on, in vineyards and growers, people
and history, but the work of Bleasdale’s head winemaker Paul Hotker cannot be understated. He and
his team are relentless in their determination to work magic.”

Robert Edwards, who has chaired the Bleasdale Board for the past decade, commends Paul for his unmatched dedication to perfecting the wine 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. This is no easy feat, Paul and his team have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of our wines each and every year,” he said.

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