Sam Watkins


McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

10, October 2017


Sam Watkins, winemaker at Fleurieu Vintners has been announced as the 2018 Wayne Thomas Scholarship recipient.

Named after prominent McLaren Vale wine identity, the late Wayne Thomas, annual scholarship recipients receive a fully funded place at the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course and the opportunity to judge as an Associate Judge at the McLaren Vale Wine Show – one of Australia’s most significant wine shows.

As long-time local winemaker – Sam is grateful for the opportunity to progress his wine sensory and analysis capabilities.

“For the community to offer me this opportunity is overwhelming, I will do my best to give back to McLaren Vale many times over for all that it has given me in my career so far,” said Mr Watkins.

“I am hugely thankful to McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association to be given the chance to push myself further into the judging field. My ultimate goal is to continue to be involved in the production of award winning wines from this great region, whilst also promoting the style of wines that we love here in McLaren Vale.”

In completing the AWAC course, Sam will experience different wine styles from around the world and develop his sensory vocabulary and palate calibration alongside esteemed industry peers during the intensive four-day workshop.

These newly acquired skills will be showcased in late 2018 whilst judging at the McLaren Vale Wine Show.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch, reaffirms the region’s reputation as a home of talented and passionate wine industry ambassadors.

“The scholarship enables recipients to advance their judging profile whilst also developing knowledge and experience to benefit our region and industry,” said Ms Lynch.

The Wayne Thomas Scholarship is funded by proceeds raised through the annual McLaren Vale Wine Show awards luncheon, the Winemakers Bushing Lunch.

“Sam joins the ranks of several esteemed McLaren Vale leaders that have completed the same sensory course over the last ten years, and who have since received many accolades for their businesses, thereby enhancing our region’s reputation as a haven for fostering leadership in the wine industry.”