Wine Show of Western Australia

2019 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

Andrew Spinaze


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

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.

Ben Rector

Gwyn Olsen

Associate Judges

  • Ryan Aggiss
  • Kym Tyrer
  • Foni Pollitt
  • Japo Dalli Cani
  • Will Roser
  • Duncan Hamm