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Sue Tipton and Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards: The Art of World-Class White Wines

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Character, finesse and elegance are words Sue Tipton, 2022 International Woman Winemaker of the Year, uses to describe her world-class wines. And, surprisingly, she’s not bragging about vines grown in far-off regions of Spain or Italy but rather on her humble acreage in the Lodi appellation. In recent years, Lodi has been building a name for itself on the international scene, producing and cultivating a unique list of wine varietals that would impress any connoisseur. 

Sue Tipton is owner and winemaker of Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards, a fully white-wine estate winery in the Lodi appellation. “I believe our success has helped highlight the beautiful white wines of Lodi and we’ve seen a shift to more white grapes being planted in the Lodi AVA, or American Viticulture Area,” Sue said. While not a native of Lodi, she has found the place where she can “acquiesce,” or surrender, to the grapes and the perfect climate for her white wines, as the name of her winery suggests. 

An Industry Leader
Sue is thrilled to not only to be part of the international notoriety Lodi is starting to gain but also to be included in the handful of women winemakers in a male-dominated industry. Ironically, women make up more than half the number of wine drinkers compared to men in the United States, so knowing a woman’s palate is key as a woman winemaker, and she admits she makes the wines suited to her own taste. Sue came into the wine industry later in life, when she and her husband, Rodney, moved to California in 2000. “After we purchased our vineyard home, I began studying wine making,” she said. She locked in her passion of winemaking after tasting what she describes as the “best wine of her life.” She fell in love with a Châteauneuf du Pape from the Southern Rhône region of France; when she recognized how difficult it was to obtain, she decided to submerge herself into the world of wine making. After visiting the Avignon province where Châteauneuf du Pape is grown, she discovered it made up only 5 percent of the wines of that region. “I realized how rare they were and decided to plant a few acres in our vineyard,” she affirmed. 

As Sue dug further into the viticulture world, she discovered that making red versus white wines is a different process and noticed that winemakers, when selecting their wine lineup, don’t give the same credibility to their whites as reds. “I wanted to focus on the whites and make them right,” she said, rather than have “token whites” that would fill up a wine list. But her decision to have an all-white winery was not supported in the beginning. “A few well-meaning people said that I would never make it with all whites,” she acknowledged. Fortunately, she went with her intuition and the decision paid off. 

In addition to her title as International Woman Winemaker of 2022, she has also won a myriad of awards including three Double Gold medals and a Gold medal at the prestigious International Women’s Wine competition. “The decision to focus on white wines only has been key to our winery’s success,” Sue admits. Many of her whites emulate the traditional Rhône Valley whites, including her 2020 Viognier, which won Best White Wine in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for its “honeysuckle perfume and tuneful suggestions of peach orchard.” It outdistanced 16 other nominated whites for the top honor in the final round of voting. 

Yet Sue recognizes she couldn’t have achieved this success without support. “Certainly, my husband, Rodney, has been my number one fan and supporter, not only assisting hands-on in the winery but as an operations guru and business advisor with 30 years of corporate managerial experience.” She also acknowledges support of other female winemakers such as Heather Pyle Lucas, who was a great help navigating the early years, as well as her current assistant winemaker, Christina Lopez, who brings hands-on winery experience. In addition, the Lodi wine community has been a great support and many people share in her vision to see Lodi wines accelerate on the global stage. 

For the Future
And while her wines have brought an eclectic variety to the Lodi region, Sue is still open to endless possibilities to experiment and create new wines. “We’re planting a five-acre parcel this month that consists of two additional acres of Picpoul Blanc, two acres of Cinsaut and one acre of Grenache Gris. We are making several sparkling wines in the méthode champenoise style,” she shared excitedly.  

As she looks over her home estate and the 100-year-old barn that has now been converted into a contemporary-style tasting room, Sue Tipton hopes other women winemakers will follow their dreams. “Carve your own path. Look to the other women in the industry who have blazed the trail.”

To learn more about Sue Tipton and Acquiesce winery, visit