Wine | Spotlight on women in wine | John Lewis

AWIWA winners: From left, Virginia Willcock, Sue Hodder, Jennifer Doyle, Ebony Tinkler, Sarah Ahmed of The Wine Detective (honorary Australian woman in wine) and Sarah Collingwood.
AWIWA winners: From left, Virginia Willcock, Sue Hodder, Jennifer Doyle, Ebony Tinkler, Sarah Ahmed of The Wine Detective (honorary Australian woman in wine) and Sarah Collingwood.

WOMEN seeking wine careers were given some superb role models last week in the 2017 Australian Women in Wine Awards (AWIWA) in which the Hunter’s Ebony Tinkler was crowned marketer of the year.

Ebony, the owner and manager of the innovative Usher Tinkler tasting rooms, cellar door and salumi and cheese bar in Pokolbin, was one of eight winners announced at Australia House in London.

Along with 60 Australian Women in Wine members, Ebony attended the London event, which included a major tasting of wines from female producers for UK drinks trade and consumers.

The other seven winners were winemaker of the year, Virginia Willcock of Vasse Felix; woman of inspiration, Sue Hodder of Wynns Coonawarra Estate; viticulturist of the year, Jennifer Doyle of Jansz Wines Tasmania; owner-operator of the year, Sarah Collingwood of Four Winds Vineyard, Canberra; workplace champion of change, Professor Eileen Scott of Adelaide University; cellar door person of the year, Jasmine Morgan of Caudo Vineyard in the South Australian Riverland; researcher of the year, Christine Böttcher of CSIRO Agriculture and Food.

Virginia Willcock is one of Australia’s most awarded female winemakers, with achievements including the 2012 Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine’s Australian winemaker of the year award and nomination as 2014 winemaker of the year in the Wine Star Awards of America’s Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Sue Hodder is truly a woman of inspiration, being first female chief winemaker in the 116-year history of the iconic Wynns Coonawarra Estate. She was born and mostly educated in Alice Springs, where her mother was a School of the Air teacher and her father was a CSIRO grazing research scientist. After school she earned an agricultural science degree at Roseworthy College in 1984 and began her wine career in viticulture with Penfolds. 

In 1988 she gained a Roseworthy graduate diploma in winemaking, made wine at Seaview in the Barossa and at Seppelt Great Western and joined Wynns in 1993. In 1995 she became deputy to Wynns’ veteran chief winemaker Peter Douglas and then succeeded him in 1998.

Ebony Tinkler gained a science degree majoring in biotechnology at the University of Newcastle, then completed a UON post-graduate diploma in marketing and is now studying Mandarin at UON. As a student she worked at Tempus Two cellar door and, after winning her degree, took a laboratory technician’s job at the Poole’s Rock, Pokolbin, winery.