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40 Under 40

Serving the community a key to success

40 Under 40

Two are in hospitality, one in medicine, but all three 40 Under 40 alumni help ensure South Australians live their best lives and enjoy all that the state has to offer.

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Sam Watkins
Watkins Family Wine / Winemaking Director

Winemaker Sam Watkins worked vintages in six regions across three continents before he turned 30.

Now 34, Sam has teamed up with his brother Ben and sister Jo to run the largest production winery in the Adelaide Hills wine region at Chandlers Hill.

In addition to the 5000-tonne capacity winery, the family business includes a 140-hectare premium vineyard in Langhorne Creek and a strong contract processing division.

With Sam as Winemaking Director, the siblings launched their own Watkins Family Wine brand in October 2020 and have quickly grown sales to more than 10,000 cases per year.

“We’ve bottled 30 different wines, have our wines in roughly 100 different venues across South Australia and have won a number of awards in wine shows all over the country and internationally,” Watkins said.

Becoming an accredited judge on the South Australian wine show circuit at the age of just 25, Watkins has also volunteered as Chair of the Langhorne Creek Winemaking Committee for the past five years.

During his tenure as Chair, the team created ‘Project 5255’, an initiative that gifts two tonnes of Langhorne Creek fruit each to three young winemakers each year from different regions across Australia to make their own wine.

Project 5255 has gained national and international attention, with winemakers in Austria, France and Italy looking to copy the program in their countries.

What Adelaide restaurant do you know you’re guaranteed a good time in? Bar Lune – great wines and food.

Scott Penfold
Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research / Lead Medical Physicist

Dr Scott Penfold is playing a leading role in the development of the first dedicated proton therapy cancer centre in the southern hemisphere.

Penfold is the lead Medical Physicist for the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research at SAHMRI.

When it starts seeing patients in 2024/25, the centre will bring a new form of therapy to cancer patients in Adelaide.

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that is typically used for the treatment of tumours in paediatrics, adolescents and young adults and rare adult cancers close to critical organs.

Penfold was the first employee of the centre in 2020 and has since seen the team grow to 10 employees.

“I have had the responsibility of performing unique radiation shielding calculations for this one-of-a-kind facility, securing EPA Radiation Facility licensing, and working with the vendor of the proton therapy equipment to define technical specifications,” Penfold said.

As well as bringing his considerable physics expertise to his job, he has also worked on financial modelling, securing revenue, including philanthropic grant funding, and general project management.

Penfold has recently been appointed an Affiliate Associate Professor with the Department of Physics at the University of Adelaide.

“As a father of two young boys, I want to make sure that our younger Australians diagnosed with cancer receive the best possible care and the most accurate treatment possible,” he said.

Last series you binged? Ted Lasso.

Stewart Wesson
Part Time Lover / Owner

At the age of 34, the young gun chef has already opened five businesses in five years.

Wesson is the group executive chef overseeing the staff, menu and kitchen operations of buzzing city restaurant Part Time Lover, café staple Whistle & Flute, sandwich and coffee shop Just Down the Road, children’s entertainment venue Funtopia Prospect, and Port Adelaide gastropub the Port Admiral Hotel.

Aside from his successful cheffing career, working in kitchens such as The Flinders Street Project and Public Café, Wesson also has a passion for mental health.

Last year he launched a local charity called Spot Your Mate, which is aimed at bolstering men’s mental health and links back in with his passion for the hospitality industry.

“Spot Your Mate is about reaching out to your mates and breaking down the stigma that it’s not ok to talk about how you are feeling,” Wesson said.

“It’s focussing on fitness and movement as a tool to help clear your mind and help stimulate the release of happy endorphins… [and] based in the fitness industry but overlaps into the hospitality industry so much with our high-stress industry.”

The sky is the limit for Wesson, who has plans on opening other businesses outside of food and venturing into sports, nutrition and fitness.

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