Sam Connew (Chief of Judges)
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 AWRI as Manager of the Hunter Valley Node. Before this she was the Winemaker/Manager of boutique Hunter Valley winery, Tower Restate, 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 ASVO and was a founding advisory board member of the Australian Women in Wine Awards.
She is a highly respected wine show judge and has been a panel chair at many regional and capital city wine shows, having completed both the AWAC and LET. 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.
Sam Kim (International Judge)
Sam has been involved for the past 30 years in New Zealand hospitality, wine retail, importing and distribution, as well as running wine courses and master classes.
Sam holds a Certificate in Winemaking from EIT (Hawke’s Bay), and has been judging wine for the last 20 years at various wine competitions and magazines, including The Air New Zealand Wine Awards, Cowra Wine Show, Decanter Asia Wine Awards, The Marlborough Wine Show, New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition, The New Zealand International Wine Show, The New World Wine Awards, The Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, The Spiegelau International Wine Competition, and Cuisine Magazine.
He publishes online wine review magazine, Wine Orbit (www.wineorbit.co.nz), and lives in Auckland, New Zealand
Julian Langworthy (Judge)
A Jimmy Watson Award winner, Ray Jordan’s 2017 Winemaker of the Year and a Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year nominee, Julian is now regarded as one of the most talented winemakers in Australia. His impressive career has included vintages in France and Canada, as well as senior winemaking roles in the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Coonawarra. Passionate about pork and producing regionally distinctive wine, Julian joined the Deep Woods team at Margaret River in 2011. Under his leadership, the winemaking team has continued to refine and explore the Deep Woods style, culminating is 25 trophies and in excess of 70 gold medals awarded across major national and international wine shows.
Emma Norbiato (Judge)
Emma Norbiato is Chief Winemaker for Calabria Family Wines.
After spending time working with Penfolds, Lindemans, Casella Wines, and time in Italy with the Frescobaldi group, Emma commenced working with Calabria Family Wines in 2010.
Emma is passionate about alternate varieties, has an increasing interest in viticulture and helping the region reach its full potential.
In 2016 Emma was awarded AWIWA’s Female Winemaker of the Year.
Jeni Port (Judge)
Jeni Port is a Melbourne-based wine writer, author and wine judge.
She is the longest-running wine writer at The Age newspaper from 1986-2016 – 30 years.
She is the longest-running correspondent at Winestate magazine.
She also writes for Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine, James Halliday Wine magazine, Wine Selector magazine, Wine Enthusiast (news website) and Menninger’s Wine Business International magazine.
She is the author of three wine books: Choosing Australian Wines (1997, 2000); Crushed By Women: Women and Wine (2000) and the Australasian editor for Dorling Kindersley’s Wines of the World (2006).
She sits on the advisory board for the Australian Women In Wine Awards and is the deputy-chair of the China Wine List of the Year Awards and the Australian Wine List of the Year Awards.
She was named a legend of Melbourne food and wine at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, 2014.
She was also named 2014 Wine Communicator of the Year.
She has judged at wine shows across Australia, New Zealand and Italy and Germany (Mundus Vini), China (Concours Mondial de Bruxelles).
Margot Muir (Judge)
Manager at Edinburgh Cellars Mitcham SA
Patrick White (Judge)
Sommelier, Bocca di Lupo, McLaren Vale
Sue Hodder (Judge)
Sue Hodder is winemaker at Wynns Coonawarra Estate. She and fellow Wynns Winemaker were jointly awarded the ASVO Winemaker of the Year for their work on “Setting Cabernet for the Future” Sue has been a wine judge for over 25 years including 3 years as Chief Judge of the Adelaide Show from 2012.
In July of 2018 she presented the findings from the historic vertical “60 years of Wynns Black Label Cabernet” to the Australian Cabernet Symposium. She has collaborated on a number Australian and international wine projects and was guest speaker at the International Cabernet Symposium in Napa in 2012. Sue is an enthusiastic promoter of Wynns, Coonawarra and Australian wine.
Sue and Wynns viticulturist, Allen Jenkins were awarded the Gourmet Traveller Wine, Winemaker of the Year in 2010.
Luke Tocaciu (Judge)
Growing up in the Barossa Valley, then moving to Coonawarra when he was 5, meant that the wine industry was in his blood. Luke studied at the University of Adelaide and graduated in 2007 with a degree Oenology. He has since completed vintages in the Clare Valley, the Barossa Valley, Limestone Coast and the USA’s Sonoma Valley, before returning to Coonawarra to join the family business Patrick of Coonawarra.
Luke is now the Winemaker and Director of Patrick of Coonawarra, a role he suddenly found himself in after his father, Patrick, sadly passed away in 2013. He has embraced the challenges that this has brought and is proud to be carrying on the family tradition. Luke has already made his mark on the company, securing several trophies, medals and praise from both critics and consumers.
Anna Hooper (Judge)
Anna Hooper is the Chief Executive Officer of Australian Vignerons, the representative organisation for winegrape growers across Australia. In her previous role as Head Winemaker and General Manager of Cape Jaffa Wines in Mount Benson, she produced a range of wines from across the Limestone Coast. Anna continues to take on a number of winemaking projects and consultancy roles in both France and Australia with her focus remaining close to home, in the Limestone Coast. Following the completion of a degree in Agricultural Science, Anna travelled and worked extensively in wineries overseas, including Georgia, France, and South Africa and has enjoyed working with a wide range of wine styles throughout her career.
Anna is an experienced wine show judge and has spent a number of years judging at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, as well as The Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show and The Great Australian Red Challenge. Anna is also a graduate of the Advanced Wine Assessment Course.
She has served on a number of State and National Boards and was President of the Mount Benson Vignerons Association for seven years. She currently sits on the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Industry Council as well as the South East Water Conservation and Drainage Board. She has a Masters degree in Agribusiness, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the recipient of the S.A. Rural Women’s’ Award in 2013.