Wine Show of Western Australia

2018 Judges

Chief Judge

Sam Connew

A highly experienced and respected winemaker, Samantha Connew launched her Tasmanian solo project, Stargazer, in 2013. Prior to establishing this and her consulting company, Compass Wine Consulting, she was employed working in applied research, development and extension for the Australian Wine Research Institute as Manager of the Hunter Valley Node. Before this she was the Winemaker/Manager of boutique Hunter Valley winery, Tower Estate, after working in McLaren Vale for ten years as the Senior Winemaker at Wirra Wirra Vineyards. 

Amongst her many achievements, in 2007 she was awarded 'International Red Winemaker of the Year' at the prestigious International Wine Challenge in London, and in 2008 she was a South Australian finalist in the Telstra Business Women's Awards. She has served on the boards of several regional associations, the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology and was a founding advisory board member of the Australian Women in Wine Awards.

She is highly respected wine show judge and has been a Panel Chair at many regional and capital city wine shows, having completed both the Advanced Wine Assessment Course and the Len Evans Tutorial. In 2014 she was appointed Chair of Judges at the Sydney Royal Wine Show, the first female and the youngest judge in that position. In 2016 she acquired a small vineyard and olive grove in the Coal River Valley outside of Hobart and is busy planting more vines and learning to drive a tractor.

Panel Leaders

Courtney Treacher

Courtney is based at the Houghton Nannup Winery and is the winemaker responsible for the production of Brookland Valley wines. Courtney studied Viticulture and Oenology at Curtin University and completed the AWRI's Advanced Wine Assessment Course in 2007. In 2011 Courtney had the great fortune of being selected as one of the Len Evans Tutorial Scholars. She has previously judged at a number of capital city and regional wine shows.

Dave Brookes

David Brookes is a freelance wine journalist contributing to Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE, Wine Companion magazines and has a monthly column in The Adelaide Review. Originally from North Canterbury, New Zealand, David now lives in South Australia’s Barossa Valley where he is the principal consultant at Wine Marketing Labs, providing brand management, digital strategy and in-bound marketing services for wineries and regions across Australia. With 25 years in the wine industry his experience spans retail, wholesale, winery, secondary market and brand management. He is a sought-after judge on the Australian and international wine show circuit judging at around 10 major and regional wine shows a year. David was awarded Dux of the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial in 2011

Pete Bissell

BSc Hons (1st Class) in Biochemistry 1982. Graduate Diploma in Oenology & Viticulture 1988, Roseworthy College, South Australia. Pete began winemaking as part of his honors thesis, looking at colour extraction in Pinot Noir wines in the new cool climate region of Canterbury, New Zealand in 1981 and 1982.

Pete then spent a year and a half in France working as assistant oenologist for A Moueix et Fils in Libourne Bordeaux, who owned Ch. Fonplegade (St Emilion) and Chateau Moulinet (Pomerol), amongst others. He also worked in the laboratory and tasting rooms outside vintage and in the cellars during the 1985 vintage. The next 3 years were spent at Roseworthy College, completing a graduate diploma in 1988. During this time Pete worked the 1987 vintage with Adam Wynn at Mountadam, then with Gerry Sissingh at Lindemans Hunter River, John Vickery at Leo Burings and Andrew Pirie at Pipers Brook in 1988.

Pete was appointed Wynns winemaker in 1989 working at Wynns Coonawarra Estate with Peter Douglas until 1995. Peter did vintages as a flying winemaker for Penfolds in Russia (1993), for the Laperouse project in the South of France (1994), worked in the Coteaux de Languedoc and visited Bordeaux in (2000). Pete visited Tuscany and in particular Bolgheri in (2006), The Willamette Valley in Oregon in (2012) and Central Otago in (2015).

Pete joined Balnaves in 1995 to design and oversee construction of the winery and take over winemaking.In 2005 Pete was named the Qantas / Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year. In 2008 Balnaves was James Halliday’s Winery of the Year.

In 2015 Balnaves The Tally 2010 was poured at the New York Wine experience (the top 250 wineries in the world)Pete is the lead author of the “Australian Winemaking” textbook Red Wine Chapter, along with Stephen Henschke, Fiona Donald, Corey Ryan and Nick Bulleid, published in 2013. 2018 will be Petes 30th vintage in Coonawarra and 38th vintage. Pete has judged at 37 Australian Wine Shows.



Lim Hwee Peng CWE, FWS is a fully-fledged wine service provider. In one of those professional roles as a wine educator, he desires to nurse an increasing pool of certified wine professionals through international wine certification programs that his eponymous wine school hosts in Singapore and South East Asia.

Despite being a graduate of multiple international and professional wine certified programs (WSET Level 3, Certified Specialist of Wines, Wine Australia Certified Australian Wine Educator, BIVB certified Bourgogne Wine Educator, NVV & CIA certified Napa Valley Wine Educator, Certified Spanish Wine Educator), Lim remains a committed student of wines as he continues acquiring intimate knowledge of the wine world through wine regional visits.

Lim also hones his tasting skills through wine judging opportunities in Australia (Royal Melbourne Wine Show, McLaren Vale Wine Show, Margaret River Wine Show, Adelaide Review Hot 100, Limestone Coast Wine Show, Royal Adelaide Wine Show, Royal Hobart Wine Show, Swan Valley Wine Show) South Africa (Veritas, Michelangelo Wine Show), South America (Cata d’Or), Italy (VinItaly), and recently at the Decanter Wine Asia Award in Hong Kong.

Among his professional accolades, Lim is honoured to be awarded DUX of Advanced Wine Assessment Course by Australian Wine Research InstituteLocally, he was also recognised by the Singapore Wine and F&B industries as a 'Sommelier Mentor of the Year 2017'; and shortly after garnering that industry award, he was also acknowledged as a 'Working Peoples' Advocate 2017' by the Singapore’s National Trades Union Congress for his efforts to increase professionalism among his peers.

In Jan 2018, Hwee Peng was recognised by Wine Scholar Guild as Best Instructor, French Wine Scholar Program 2017.

Brendan Carr

Brendan has been part of the winemaking team at Xanadu, Margaret River since 2012.

Brendan is an alumni of the Curtin University in Margaret River. During and post studies, he has gained invaluable experience working for local and international wineries. Vintages in Canterbury, New Zealand; France’s Southern Rhone Valley; Canada’s Okanagan Valley; the Colchagua Valley, Chile and the Somlo wine region of Hungary have been instrumental to gaining experience into the different winemaking and viticulture techniques from both the old and new world.

Brendan has completed the AWRI AWAC course and has previously judged at Margaret River, Royal Sydney, Yarra Valley and Geographe wine shows as well as associating at the Mount Barker Wine Show of WA for the past two years. In his spare time, Brendan enjoys long walks along short beaches and stealing omni bins from Deep Woods...

Damian Hutton

My mother’s side of the family grew up in the Swan Valley and my Grandfather lived and worked at the Valencia winery in Caversham for 35 years.

I moved back to the swan Valley in 1987, and got a summer holiday job at the age of 15 at Houghton’s, where my uncle was the viticulturist, my first vintage being 1990 after Graduating from High school.
Completing my winemaking studies at Adelaide University between 1998 and 2001, whilst working at Tintara Winery in McLaren Vale.

After graduating I worked at Alkoomi in Frankland River before moving to Millbrook for the 2003 vintage.

I have judged at the following shows; Swan Valley, Wandering Wheat Belt, Perth Hills, Boutique Wine Show of WA, the Perth Royal and Rutherglen wine shows

Patrick Haddock

Patrick has been working in wine for the last 15 years. He started in direct market wine communication as a copywriter at Cellarmasters and then went on to become the Creative manager at Wine Selectors.

It was here that writing about wine became a focus an in 2010 he was nominated for Le Cordon Bleu Best new wine writer at Tasting Australia due to his work for Selector magazine.

In 2011 he formed Wining Pom Communications, helping wineries with content and social media as well as going freelance as a wine writer. In this time, he contributed to Selector, James Halliday Wine Companion Magazine, Winestate, CEO Magazine, WBM, Good Taste and many others. In 2013 he launched the Reserve Wine Bar in Newcastle as a co-owner which in its first year was voted 'best small bar' in Australia by Restaurant and Catering and gained a three-glass rating from Gourmet Traveler Wine magazine.

Patrick has judged numerous wine shows in the past five years and was lucky enough to attend the 2015 Len Evans Tutorial. He has recently started working at Pepper Tree Wines as Business Development Manager based in the Hunter Valley. When not pouring wine or writing about it, he can be found nursing a Pinot or a Chardonnay while talking nonsense to his two young children.

Rob Mack

Raised on the beaches just north of McLaren Vale, Rob moved to Sydney to study in 2005 where he met his wife-to-be Louise.

Prior to striking out on his own with Aphelion Wine Co., Rob worked at Kilikanoon in the Clare Valley, Laithwaites Wine People in Sydney and McLaren Vale Winemakers in McLaren Vale. To broaden learnings beyond the textbook and beyond Australia, many research trips have been taken, including to California, Oregon and Washington State in the USA, Constantia, Stellenbosch and Franschoek in South Africa, Umbria, Tuscany, Liguria and Piemonte in Italy, and Marlborough, Waipara, Hawkes Bay, Central Otago, Martinborough in New Zealand. In 2017 Rob worked vintage with one of the top wineries in Barolo – G.D. Vajra, where many secrets were shared over a glass of their single vineyard crus.

Rob's a smart cookie with a business degree from UTS and a strong palate after completing the AWRI Advanced Wine Assessment Course, WSET Level 3 Cert and judging at the Rutherglen Wine Show, National Fortified Wine Show & McLaren Vale Wine Show in 2016 along with Royal Adelaide and Ballarat shows in 2018. After a 6 year slog, Rob completed the Bachelor of Wine Science at Charles Sturt University in 2016, and also took out the university prize for sparkling wine production.

Kate Morgan

Kate is a Margaret River based winemaker making wine under her own label, Ipso Facto Wines, as well as working as Senior Winemaker for Byron & Harold Estate, where she is responsible for making wines from across the Great Southern and Margaret River. After gaining a Bachelor of Science (Viticulture & Oenology) she travelled & worked vintages around Australia and overseas before settling back in Margaret River where she has been for the last 10 years.

Kate has been involved in the Perth Royal Wine Show and the Margaret River Wine Shows for the last few years and is thrilled to have been invited to judge at the Wine Show of WA this year.

Associate Judges

  • Dan Stocker
  • Ryan Aggiss
  • Kym Tyrer
  • Rachael Niall
  • Conrad Tritt
  • Hope Metcalf