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 particularly outstanding and meritorious 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.”

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 here

The ASVO Fellowships were announced at the ASVO AGM on Monday 15th November 2021.

Sue Hodder

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 are continuing 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 unparalleled 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. She 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 has enthusiastically 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. This was a time requiring high level leadership, influencing and change negotiation skills. Sue is a current member of the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council in an independent community nominated board position.

Sue’s regular mentorship of young winemakers, and generosity to the broader wine community in both an informal and formal manner is commendable, both at Wynns and many other wineries across Australia and the world. Sue takes school careers tours & volunteers her time with school winemaking projects at Penola High, Urrbrae Agricultural and Casterton Area School.

Sue commenced her career as a Viticultural Technical Officer working for Penfolds on defining attributes of high-quality Shiraz fruit. She has kept very close links to viticulture through her winemaking career, and her initial agricultural qualifications provided a strong foundation and understanding of environment, plant, and soil interactions. Sue is highly respected by her viticultural colleagues and has been influential in collaboratively working on identifying improvements to cultural practices and optimal expression of wine quality. 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. 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

Peter Clingeleffer has had a long career in research at CSIRO. Peter 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. Peter 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. Outputs of his work are now adopted by most major wine producing countries.

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 impressive 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. In these roles he has had a positive mentoring influence on colleagues and has supervised and co-supervised Masters and PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.

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.

Peter is highly recognised and respected nationally and internationally. 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.