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, he has recently, after a decade in the Barossa Valley, moved 'up the coast' to Northern NSW and continues to travel wine regions widely for writing assignments and consulting work.

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 and is the current chairman at the New South Wales Wine Awards and the Margaret River Wine Show.


Andrew Spinaze

Andrew is Senior Winemaker for Tyrrells based in the Hunter Valley completing 40 vintages in the Hunter Valley alone.  In that period Andrew has seen how stylistically how the industry has evolved.

He has been involved in the show system for over twenty odd years both regional and capital city shows. QANTAS Gourmet Traveller Finalist in 1999 and winner 2004 along with Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year 2007.


Judges

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


Ying Tan - INTERNATIONAL JUDGE

Ying Hsien Tan MW qualified as the first Singaporean Master of Wine in 2015. He was one of the first
two Asian men to attain the qualification that year.

Ying started tasting and studying wine as a hobby in 1983 while pursuing law studies at university in
the United Kingdom. In 2009, after more than 20 years as a corporate and banking lawyer, he
embarked on a different career path building on his enthusiasm for wine to become a wine journalist,
speaker and educator.

Whilst on the MW education programme, Ying won the Institute of Masters of Wine Champagne
Trinity Scholarship 2010 and was nominated to attend the Master Napa Programme in September
2013. He also won a French Wine Society scholarship for the Sud de France Master Level Program in
2013 and the 2013 AXA Millésime Scholarship for MW students.

Ying has judged at international wine competitions frequently, including the International Wine
Challenges held in Singapore, Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition, Decanter Asia
Wine Awards, UWWR Russian Wine Challenge, Sydney International Wine Competition and the
Concours de Mondial. He was also on the tasting panel of Wine & Dine, Singapore for several years
and a wine consultant to the World Gourmet Summit 2013 in Singapore.

He is also actively engaged in the education of MW students and sommeliers. He judged at the
Singapore National Sommelier Competitions in 2014 and 2016 and the Sopexa French Wine
Sommelier Competition 2015.

He owns Taberna Wine Academy where he conducts tastings, classes, wine dinners as well as hosting
many leading wine producers.

A member of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and
Commanderie de Bordeaux, Ying has visited all the classic wine regions of France, the Russian Tsar’s
former cellars at Massandra in Crimea, as well as wine regions in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia,
Bulgaria, China, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Peru, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain,
Switzerland, Thailand and the USA.


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

Ben has called Margaret River home since his first vintage with Deep Woods Estate in 2007.  He commenced there with the Fogarty Wine Group as Assistant Winemaker, and is now the Senior Winemaker at Margaret River Vintners; WA’s largest winemaking facility.

His journey in the industry began at age 16 in his native Hunter Valley with Brokenwood, before venturing across Australia and abroad as a self-proclaimed ‘flying cellar-hand’.  In 2006 as an immature aged student, he attained a Bachelor of Applied Science (Oenology) at Adelaide University, and completed the AWRI AWAC in 2012.  Ben has previously held associate judging roles at WA Wineshow and Margaret River Wine show.


Gwyn Olsen


Associate Judges

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