Stuart Hordern Appointed Brokenwood Chief Winemaker

January 12, 2024
By Ashley Pini

As the first grapes of the 2024 vintage come off the vines in the Hunter Valley, Brokenwood Wines has announced Stuart Hordern’s promotion to Chief Winemaker, only the second person in Brokenwood’s 54-year history to hold this position. The other is Ian Riggs.

Hordern grew up on a family vineyard and has been working with vines since he was old enough to drive a tractor. After numerous vintages in the Upper Hunter and a stint in France, he decided to make his chosen career official and headed off to Adelaide University in 2004. Throughout this time, he continued to develop his skills, working four years with Dean Hewitson in Adelaide, followed by a placement with Tyrrell’s, where he was able to focus on the classic Hunter Valley varieties of Semillon and Shiraz.

In his final year of university, he combined his two passions, wine and rugby, by heading back to France for a white vintage in the Languedoc, followed by some quality time attending the 07 Rugby World Cup. He then returned to the Upper Hunter for two years to work with Tyrrells. While at Tyrrells he undertook another Northern Hemisphere Vintage in 2008, heading to Sonoma in the USA to work with multiple Pinot Noir clones at the acclaimed Williams Selyem.

In 2009 Hordern joined Brokenwood. During his time, Hordern and his team have maintained the coveted position at the highest level of Langton’s Classification of collectible Australian wines for the Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz – 1st Classified and remains the only red wine in New South Wales to hold this position. Brokenwood has also been awarded a Halliday 5-star red winery, with wines receiving numerous gold medals and trophies at various wine shows; notable wins from 2023 include the National Wine of Provence Trophy for the Indigo Vineyard Chardonnay (2012, 2016 & 2022) and the F Miller & Co Prize for Winemaker of National Wine of Provence, both from the Royal Adelaide Wine Show.

Hordern has also been instrumental in leading the Hunter Valley through the post-COVID era as President of the Hunter Valley Wine Tourism Association over the past two years.

Hordern encapsulates the new breed of young winemakers, dedicated to the region and striving to produce the best wines possible while learning from the masters to develop his craft further. Now, as Chief Winemaker, it’s time for Hordern to share his knowledge with the next generation of winemakers joining the Brokenwood team for the 2024 vintage.

Share the content