The AWAC Scholarship selection committee comprises a range of experienced professionals with extensive expertise in the area of wine show judging and wine sensory assessment. Each judge, rates all of the applications based on set criteria, and ranks the applicants based on their opinion of their suitability for the scholarship.
A highly experienced and respected winemaker and consultant, Samantha Connew launched her Tasmanian solo project Stargazer in2013. 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 Wine maker at Wira Wira Vineyards.
Bryan has been heavily involved in regional and state based industry organisations such as NSW Wine Industry Association, Riverina Winemakers Association, MIA Vine Improvement Association and National Grape and Wine Industry Centre. Keen to further knowledge, education and mentoring opportunities, he established the Riverina Sweet Wine Tutorials, was key in developing the Riverina, Hilltops and Tumbarumba regional wine shows and the International Sweet Wine Challenge and is a regular judge on the Australian Wine Show circuit.
Robert Diletti has been part of Castle Rock Estate since its inception in 1981. He can still remember helping plant the first vines as a six year old in 1983. Many a school holiday and weekend was spent helping his parents on the vineyard.
Matt grew up in Auckland, working his first vintage in 1988 at Nobilos, in West Auckland. He then studied at Roseworthy College, graduating in 1991.
Vintages in the Hunter Valley and a year with Jeff Grosset in the Clare Valley gave Matt an understanding of the discipline needed in both vineyard and winery to produce great Australian wine.
Matt then returned to the Hunter for three years as winemaker at Brokenwood. Under the tutelage of Iain Riggs, Matt was exposed to the best wines of Australia and the world, an incredibly valuable experience.
A brief stint as Senior Winemaker for Nautilus in Marlborough ensued before moving to Melbourne to create Shadowfax in 1999.
With 20 years of winemaking experience, Trina Smith is a skilled winemaker in all styles of wines.
Trina has judged at numerous capital and regional shows and was a scholar at the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial in 2005. Trina is also the committee chair for the Australian Sparkling Wine show.
Virginia is an authority on Margaret River winemaking, having completed almost 30 grape harvests in the region. She’s won several winemaking awards and is a sought-after regional wine show judge.
Past scholarship judging committee members:
- Sue Bastian
- Pete Bissell
- Sue Bell
- Nick Bulleid M.W.
- Sue Hodder
- Sarah Crowe
- Jeremy Dineen
- Mark O’Callaghan
- Chris Pfeiffer
- Corrina Wright