On Monday 15 November, Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) President Brooke Howell announced two new Fellows of the Society: Sue Hodder and Peter Clingeleffer. ASVO Fellows are bestowed with this honour for their contribution to the grape and wine industry and to the Society.
“The selection of Fellows was particularly difficult this year because of the extremely high calibre of candidates within the ASVO membership”, said Ms Howell.
“The collective wisdom that both these individuals encapsulate is extraordinary as is the diversity of their background and experience.”
Sue joined Wynns Coonawarra Estate in 1993. Five years later she became the winery’s first female chief winemaker.
Sue worked closely with viticulturist Allen Jenkins to rejuvenate the old vines and reconstruct the vineyards, heralding a new era for Wynns and the entire Coonawarra region. Sue and her team continue to adopt more sustainable viticulture methods, including better soil moisture management and maintaining a stronger focus on vine health.
Sue has contributed to the research, development and assessment of new clones and rootstocks for the next generation of Cabernet Sauvignon in Coonawarra since 2004 – starting with 50 vintages of Wynns Black Label Cabernet.
This sample set has provided an insight into tannin evolution for Australian wine. Sue was also involved in a subsequent AWRI project on berry sorter/grader installation to verify the benefits of vision technology for top level fruit sorting.
Sue was a Committee member (10 years), Chair (4 years) and Chief Judge of the Royal Adelaide Wine Show and was pivotal to the development of Provenance classes – initiated at the Adelaide wine show during Sue’s chairmanship.
Sue has judged at many regional, capital city and international wine shows, mentoring associate judges, providing feedback to committees and judging collaboratively with her peers. She has been involved in the Australian Cabernet Symposium, including hosting it in Coonawarra three times.
Sue also provided data, opinion and wine to researchers, panel leaders and suppliers to participate in the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference.
Sue was President of Coonawarra Vignerons immediately before the merging of the Vignerons and Grape Grower Associations. She is a current member of the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council in an independent community nominated board position.
Sue commenced her career as a Viticultural Technical Officer working for Penfolds on defining attributes of high-quality Shiraz fruit and her initial agricultural qualifications provided a foundation and understanding of environment, plant, and soil interactions.
Sue’s input has been integral to the extensive viticultural innovation, renovation, and replanting of Wynns vineyards since 2000.
The ASVO Fellows advisory committee commented that Sue is a quiet achiever, often putting others before her.
They also said she is still very active in industry and for ASVO and has contributed across both winemaking and viticulture and is a very worthy recipient of Fellow of the Society.
Peter Clingeleffer has had a long career in research at CSIRO and has been promoted on numerous occasions within CSIRO to senior research scientist in 1983, principal research scientist in 1988, and senior principal research scientist in CSIRO Plant Industry in 1998 in recognition of outstanding performance. He is now an honorary research fellow and is one of Australia’s most influential viticultural research scientists.
Peter’s pioneering work, initially with Dr Peter May, involved the first Australian trials of mechanical harvesters and the development and application of minimal pruning, light mechanical hedging and various crop control techniques to minimise seasonal effects on yield and quality.
Peter has a prestigious record of research and extension publications. Over his career he has authored or co-authored 56 scientific papers and 32 in-trade journal articles for wine grape related research. Added to these figures are 88 presentations to conferences, and 13 reports to industry bodies.
Peter has always maintained strong links with industry through development of extensive industry networks and involvement in collaborative research both within, and external to CSIRO. From 1996 to 2009 he was the Riverlink Viticulture program manager, a key role responsible for coordination of regional grape research, development and extension across the Department of Primary Industries-Victoria, the South Australian Research and Development Institute, the Department of Primary Industries-NSW and the CSIRO.
Some of Peter’s other work has involved leading projects that delivered new approaches to crop forecasting, disease incidence and deficit irrigation techniques, and phenotyping the entire CSIRO wine grape variety and clone collection to assist adaptation for climate change, which will underpin the planned Wine Australia Variety Selector Tool.
He chaired the former National Vine Improvement Committee for 15 years, is a member of the scientific committee of the international vine training and management group (GiESCO) and the ISHS grapevine mechanization group. He has also willingly donated his time to countless paper reviews for the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research.
The Fellow advisory committee agreed that Peter has had an outstanding contribution to industry over a long period of time in a number of areas of viticulture and is very worthy of the invitation of Fellow to ASVO.
The honorary membership category of Fellow of the Australian Society of Viticulture & Oenology recognises the exemplary contributions by Members of the Society, and to the discipline and/or profession of Viticulture and/or Oenology.
A list of ASVO Fellows can be found at https://www.asvo.com.au/asvo-fellows-society
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