By Amy Looker
Wirra Wirra’s senior winemaker, Samantha Connew, has announced plans to part ways with the McLaren Vale winery after 10 years in the job.
Connew joined the winery in 1999 alongside Ben Riggs before taking over the position of senior winemaker in 2001.
Named as the International Red Winemaker of the Year at the 2007 London International Wine Challenge, Connew plans to keep busy completing her master’s degree and visiting New York to compete in the New York Marathon.
Wirra Wirra’s managing director, Andrew Kay, said Connew should be proud of her achievements at the winery.
“Her dedication to quality and detail has seen our reputations grow together and the discipline that she has instilled into the winemaking here will resonate for many years to come,” said Kay. “We wish Sam well wherever her career takes her and know that she will continue to excel at whatever she does.”
Connew’s successor will be Wirra Wirra winemaker Paul Smith. Smith joined Wirra Wirra in mid-2008 after a stellar career that has seen him progress through the ranks of Petaluma and Knappstein wineries.
“Paul has brought an exceptional white winemaking pedigree to Wirra Wirra which has already borne positive results and he has been keen to further develop his winemaking talents in a region renowned for producing world-class reds,” said Kay.
“His time working with such an exponent as Sam has set him up nicely to take over the number one mantle at Wirra Wirra.”