Meet The Sustainable Winemaker Shaping Australia's Wine Future – Forbes

Glenn Goodall
Glenn Goodall, a celebrated senior winemaker at Xanadu Wines in Margaret River, Australia, is marking a quarter-century of dedication to his craft this year. And Goodall’s journey to becoming a leading figure in Australian wine was not a linear path.
Born in New Zealand, a serendipitous job planting vines during a holiday sparked a lifelong passion. From there, he honed his skills under mentorship, pursued formal education and gained experience working vintages across the globe.
In 1999, Goodall found his home at Xanadu, eventually rising to senior winemaker in 2006. His tenure has been defined by his unwavering focus on quality, leadership and sustainability.
Under his stewardship, Xanadu achieved Sustainable Winegrowing Australia certification, a testament to his dedication to environmentally responsible practices. Goodall’s influence extends beyond the winery walls; he is deeply involved in the Margaret River community and enjoys a balanced lifestyle that includes outdoor pursuits such as surfing, fishing and mountain biking as well as a love for fresh, local cuisine.
Xanadu’s flagship wines.
Goodall recently shared more with Forbes about the growth of the Australian wine industry over the course of his career, sustainable winemaking and which wine he pairs with his own freshly caught fish.
One of the most significant changes I have noticed over the course of my career here has been the evolution and renaissance of Chardonnay in Australia. When I first started at Xanadu in 1999, the typical Aussie style Chardonnay fit the classic “sunshine in a bottle” description. Over the last 25 years, it has been lovely to see Australian chardonnay evolve to include a wonderful diversity of styles that reflect place and vineyard, rather than heavy handed winemaking.
During my time here, I’ve also seen how our climate is warming across Australia. Margaret River’s maritime climate has meant we aren’t experiencing the warming trend as quickly as some other areas, but it is certainly getting drier. Last year in particular was extremely dry, and it really makes you consider how we may need to adapt and evolve with our changing environment.
My winemaking journey first began at Cassegrain Wines in New South Wales, where I worked in the vineyard planting grapevines before being invited to come work in the winery. Once I got into the winery, the smell of the place and the camaraderie around vintage set about my passion for winemaking. I didn’t grow up in a wine-drinking family, but the energy around being part of a team was something I connected with. It was special to see something through, from start to finish, to the point where someone can enjoy what you have helped to create.
A bunch of the gingin clone grapes, the predominant clone of Chardonnay grown near Australia’s … [+] Margaret River today.
Working in various regions around the world gave me a broader perspective of winemaking styles and philosophies, but I wouldn’t say I’ve modeled a style on any one thing in particular. If anything, my style has been most influenced by the team I work with—it’s not a one man show, winemaking is definitely a team sport.
That said, the experience working in South Africa was one of the most impactful. The owner and winemaker gave me so much responsibility and freedom so I was able to jump in headfirst. I knew I enjoyed winemaking but having that level of responsibility made me realize that this was something I could pursue as a career. That was a major turning point and what led me to the decision that I was going to be a winemaker.
Kangaroos in the vineyards at Xanadu Wines.
Growing and making wine sustainably requires a holistic approach. One of our greatest sustainability achievements at Xanadu was participating in the pilot program for Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, becoming certified in 2012. SWA is Australia’s national program for grape growers and winemakers to demonstrate and improve their sustainable practices in the vineyard and winery. Xanadu was the first winery in Western Australia to use the SWA trust mark, and it has been a great way to demonstrate our (and our growers’) commitment to sustainability.
As for the specific initiatives we’ve implemented, they are quite broad. We utilize water and power efficient equipment, solar power and composting practices. We also use sheep in the vineyard to keep grasses down rather than mowing, further decreasing our use of diesel. Revegetation on the property and roller crimping mid-row crops also helps maintain organic matter in the vineyard and aids water retention.
SWA is about constant improvement, knowing your metrics such as water and electricity and fuel usage. Being able to demonstrate improvement is much easier when you have information that quantifies your inputs and emissions. It’s all the little things that add up—the environmental stewardship and sustainable practices, which come together to make a strong impact.
Winemaking and viticulture go hand-in-hand, and so the most rewarding aspect is getting to see people enjoy the fruits of your labor. As far as leading Xanadu’s viticultural efforts, I don’t manage day-to-day operations, but rather I oversee the viticulture from a holistic perspective across our own vineyards as well as our growers’ vineyards. I do all the grower liaison with our Growers, some of which we’ve worked with for nearly two decades, so it is rewarding to build upon those relationships. At the end of each season, we do an allocation tasting where we taste through all our wines with the growers. I always love seeing the looks on their faces when they taste wines from grapes they’ve grown themselves. It’s a great opportunity to offer constructive feedback to one another and it’s nice to invite them in as part of that broader team.
The challenges we face tend to be seasonal more than anything. For example, 2024 was a very dry year, which presented challenges that we haven’t had previously, but by and large, the Margaret River is grape growing paradise. Relative to other regions, both in Australia and around the world, we’re sitting sweet here. But that doesn’t mean we can get complacent.
The barrel room at Xanadu Wines.
As young parents, it was certainly very tricky to juggle our family and careers. I’m very grateful to Eloise, who decided to step back from her winemaking career while we raised a family. Now that the kids are older and more self-sufficient, Eloise has immersed herself back in the wine industry—she’s been a consultant and also worked for large companies.
This shared passion has also led to the creation of our own label, La Kooki Wines, which she is the driving force behind. It’s an opportunity for us to make wines with our own personal twist. She has always been my secret weapon—I can taste something at work, but then take it home and show it to someone who hasn’t seen it before and who will give me honest feedback.
When people visit Margaret River, it is always lovely to introduce them to not just Margaret River wines, but also to the place itself. When the opportunity arises and when the conditions are nice, I love taking people down to the beach for a surf or maybe to collect abalone, or to fish or go crabbing. Getting abalone with people is always fun, especially when it’s a new experience for them.
It’s great to put a mask and snorkel on visitors who may have never seen these shellfish before, and get them under the water. The roe abalone we get on our coast aren’t huge in size, but they are absolutely delicious.
For people to be able to catch it, shuck it, cook it and then pair it with a wine—our Xanadu Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends pair beautifully with seafood—it makes them appreciate and enjoy it that much more.

One Community. Many Voices. Create a free account to share your thoughts. 
Our community is about connecting people through open and thoughtful conversations. We want our readers to share their views and exchange ideas and facts in a safe space.
In order to do so, please follow the posting rules in our site’s Terms of Service.  We’ve summarized some of those key rules below. Simply put, keep it civil.
Your post will be rejected if we notice that it seems to contain:
User accounts will be blocked if we notice or believe that users are engaged in:
So, how can you be a power user?
Thanks for reading our community guidelines. Please read the full list of posting rules found in our site’s Terms of Service.