Vale Wayne Stehbens

The Coonawarra Winemaking and Grape Growing Industry is in deep shock following the sudden passing of one of its most experienced and decorated Winemakers.

Wayne Stehbens sadly passed away on Sunday 5 November in Coonawarra.

Wayne will be remembered as a substantial contributor to Coonawarra’s ongoing success through his role as the foundation and Senior Winemaker at Katnook 1980. His early winemaking training at Charles Sturt University launched him on his way to a successful winemaking career. In turn Wayne became a mentor to many winemakers and wine enthusiasts who did their time at the Katnook winery.

Wayne and his family blew in from Queensland around 1970 with his father Ray playing a pivotal role in the early development of the foundation Katnook vineyards. 

Wayne will be remembered as a proud family man and a doting husband to his charming wife Michelle.

He was a notable can do person, always enthusiastic about the newest project. Apart from wine and food, Wayne maintained an enthusiasm for water skiing and after hour’s viticulture in the family vineyard.

Wayne was a long serving and keen member of the Coonawarra Beefsteak and Burgundy Club and custodian of the club’s cellar. In his younger years, Wayne was a keen and capable tennis player.

A quieter progression from his earlier interest as a motor bike rider (BSA 650 leading on to a Kawasaki 900, the latter having a control limitation at reasonable speed if you left the stand down on acceleration from an urgent pit stop and a couple of Jim Beams following football in Mount Gambier.)

In his winemaking career Wayne travelled extensively adding significantly to his experiences and more importantly to his collection of stories – an ability to tell them being a key attribute of Wayne’s.

Wayne was a journeyman – always going somewhere – more often than not in a hurry.



For more information about Wayne’s extraordinary career, read

Details for a celebration of Wayne’s life will be shared in due course on Katnook’s website and Facebook page

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