The Wingara Wine Group (WWG) has revealed its shock at the sudden passing of Katnook Senior Winemaker, Wayne Stehbens.

Stehbens was one of Australia’s longest-serving winemakers, having made Katnook’s first vintage and headed the winemaking team until his passing last Sunday.

In a statement about his passing WWG said: “Wayne was a talented winemaker with a sophisticated understanding of the unique terroir of Coonawarra. He was passionate about the wines in his charge and about Coonawarra as a significant wine producing region, having served for two years as President of the Coonawarra Vigneron’s Association.

“Wayne governed Katnook’s winemaking during the most dynamic growth period of the Australian wine industry. Wayne cited the loves of his life as his family, wine, fast cars (he owned two Bolwells which he built from scratch), water skiing and tennis.”

Throughout his career, Stehbens’ wines won multiple awards, after a good start with 49 awards for those first vintage wines. Over the course of his career Stehbens also collected two Jimmy Watson Trophies (1987 and 1998) and a double trophy at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2003 for the flagship Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 1998. Further trophies included the 2000 vintage of Odyssey in the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2005 & Decanter Wine Awards 2005 and most recently a trophy for the 2008 Odyssey in the 2013 International Wine & Spirits Competition.

He was one of the first Australian winemakers to make Sauvignon Blanc in commercial quantities, and WWG added: “No words can truly describe the extraordinary impact Wayne had at Katnook Estate, Coonawarra – he will be sadly missed by so many.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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