Meet the Family
Sam’s initial exposure to the wine industry was growing up around the vineyards his parents planted in the 90s, so the decision to study winemaking at the University of Adelaide at age 17 was a very natural one. Graduating shortly afterwards, Sam is the first winemaker in the Watkins Family and makes up a third of the second generation of Watkins to work in wine in the Adelaide Hills and Langhorne Creek. To broaden his scope of knowledge and hands-on experience during and post study, Sam completed several vintages under the tutelage and watchful eyes of some of the most influential Australian winemakers including:
Fiona Donald at Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley
Philip Shaw at Philip Shaw Wines in Orange, NSW
Sue Hodder at Wynns in Coonawarra.
Keen to learn more and gain a more global perspective on the wine industry, styles and winemaking techniques to bring back to South Australia, Sam also undertook several international vintages including:
Quinta da Roeda in Douro Valley, Portugal to learn about fortifieds,
St Supery in Napa to learn more about Cabernet.
Now Head Winemaker at the largest winery in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region, Sam has been custodian of the site for the past 17 years. He is a strong believer in giving back to the wine industry and has volunteered with the Langhorne Creek Wine Region in various positions for the past 9 years
To round out Sam’s holistic approach to winemaking, he has also gained considerable on-trade and consumer insight having worked as a Sommelier/ Wine Expert at Penfold’s Magill Estate Restaurant and is WSET qualified. Sam holds the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wine after being invited into the inaugural South Australia Cohort, having previously gained WSET Level 3 certification in 2017. In addition, after completion of the WSET Level 3 course, Sam then, upon receiving the Wayne Thomas Scholarship from McLaren Vale, completed the AWAC.
EXPORT, SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR
After a successful career in politics and Government, Jo joined Watkins to drive the brand strategy with a key focus on innovation and diversification within the Watkins product offerings.
A qualified chartered accountant with a past as a consultant at PwC and EY, Ben brings a commercial and strategic lense to the company to ensure systems are running smoothly.
David and Ros
The Watkins family have deep roots in the South Australian wine industry since David and Ros Watkins purchased land in 1997 and planted a vineyard. After 22 years of honing their craft in producing premium bulk wine for many well-known brands domestically and internationally, David and Ros brought their three children into the business and thereafter the Watkins brand was born.
The Watkins family have deep roots in South Australia and entered the wine industry in 1997 when David & Ros Watkins purchased land and planted a vineyard in South Australia. Over the following 22 years the meticulous attention to detail in the vineyard, unwavering adherence to sustainable viticultural practices and contemporary, diverse winemaking techniques allowed the Watkins family to realise their initial goal of becoming a producer of high-end fruit and premium bulk wines.
After perfecting their craft and supplying some of South Australia’s most renowned brands, the new generation of siblings Ben, Sam & Jo were ready to take the reigns. The time felt right to launch a Watkins family branded wine portfolio in 2019. Critical acclaim and accolades have been commonplace from the outset with wine show trophies and accolades from James Suckling, Wine Enthusiast, Halliday Wine Companion and many other leading wine critics.
With a focus on quality, sustainability and organic viticulture, along with a superb range of varietals and wine styles, Watkins are now ready to make their mark on the international wine scene.