news: a fast and furious 2018 vintage


‘Fast and furious’ pretty much sums up the entire ’17/’18 season!

A very dry winter for most of Southern Tasmania had us all on edge heading into spring although budburst timing was around normal at the end of September/start of October. Very even growth and warm conditions in November resulted in an extremely quick flowering period; for most growers this occurred over just one week, auguring well for fruit set and yields.

The compressed growing season kept everyone on their toes as it seemed that no sooner had one vineyard task been completed than another was on top of us! The warmer than average conditions continued through December and January although a cooler February gave us a little respite and pushed harvest back a little.

The compressed nature of the season continued through to harvest which was a fast and furious one, especially compared to the moderate pace of 2017. Yields as anticipated were up due to increased berry size and thus bunch weights, although quality at this stage also looks impressive with the trademark Tassie acidity shining though. It is obviously still very early, but Chardonnay in particular looks like being a standout.
Samantha Connew

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the story:

the story:


Stargazer pays tribute to Abel Tasman, who as an explorer and navigator, must have spent a fair amount of time gazing towards the heavens. Tasman, a Dutchman under the employ of the United East India Company was the first European to sight Tasmania (on 24 November 1642) and then the South Island of New Zealand, nineteen days later on 13 December.

He is a natural link for me, having been born and bred a South Islander, and now having fallen in love with another island, Tasmania. The opportunity to work with pristine fruit to craft the wines that I am passionate about in an environment of extraordinary beauty is really all I have ever wanted to do as a winemaker.

My high school Classics teacher, a Scotsman who at one point had been in the Merchant Navy, always said that when visiting museums, art galleries, and churches we should remember to look up as the best treasures can be above us.

And as Stephen Hawking reminded us, ‘always look up at the stars and not down at your feet’.

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The first case of wine that I ever bought was from Tasmania; a dozen bottles of Tamar Ridge Riesling. And my first vintage was in Oregon, where I, like so many other winemakers, became captivated by Pinot Noir. So it seems only fitting that after an intervening period of over fifteen years I end up in Tasmania making Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay.

In the interim period, after vintages throughout Australia and in Italy, Spain and in Oregon, I spent ten years as the Senior Winemaker at McLaren Vale’s Wirra Wirra Vineyards, followed by a couple of years at Tower Estate in the Hunter Valley. My most recent position (prior to making the leap into self-employment) was working for the Australian Wine Research Institute.

None of this was really on the radar after finishing a law and arts degree in Christchurch, New Zealand which I subsidised with part time work at a wonderful wine bar in the Arts Centre. It was here that I discovered wine and food, an epiphany fuelled by overseas travel and then confirmed with further study in winemaking and viticulture at Lincoln University.

I’m passionate about the Australian wine industry as well as wine; I’m actively involved as a wine show judge, and have just completed a three year term as Chair of Judges at the Sydney Royal Wine Show. I’ve also recently served three years on the advisory board of the Australian Women in Wine Awards.

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2018 Tasmania Riesling:

Pale straw in colour with green edges, the nose shows orange rind, musk and ginger aromatics. The palate has volume and generosity yet finishes tight, sapid and long, framed by typical Tasmanian talcy acidity and positive phenolics.

$38 per 750 ml bottle; available for $228/6 pack with free shipping
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

tasting notesblankDownload Order formblank2017 Riesling


2017 Tasmania Pinot Noir:

Lifted and perfumed with plenty of Chinese five spice, star anise and cinnamon supporting red fruit notes of wild raspberry and rhubarb. The palate is silky and textured, with a bright acidity, the hallmark of the 2017 vintage, perfectly married to the fine, lacy tannins.

$55 per 750 ml bottle; available for $330/6 pack with free shipping
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

2016 Pinot Noir tasting noteblankDownload Order formblankBuy 2016 Pinot Noir


2017 Tasmania Chardonnay:

Fresh lemon zest characters on the nose,  typical of this vineyard, with background notes of gunflint and hazelnut. The palate is sleek and streamlined, the fruit and oak integrated and focussed at the same time, with lemon curd fruit generosity being the standout feature.

$55 per 750ml bottle; available for $330/6 pack with free shipping
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

tasting notesblankDownload Order formblank2016 Stargazer Chardonnay


2018 Tupelo:

Perfumed and spicy, the nose shows quince paste and rose water notes with dried pear. There is a glossy texture to the palate, with the richness framed by subtle phenolics providing both persistence and length.

$32 per 750ml bottle; available for $192/6 pack with free shipping
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

2017 Tupelo tasting notesblankDownload Order formblank2017 Tupelo

2018 Rada:

The newest wine to join the Stargazer line-up is a blend of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir from the 2018 vintage. With the Noir component contributing soft red berry fruits, the Meunier is all savoury earthiness and spice. Soft, dusty tannins provide the framework with characteristic Tassie acidity contributing liveliness & energy.

$35 per 750ml bottle; available for $210/6 pack with free shipping
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

2018 Rada tasting noteblankDownload Order formblank2018 Tupelo

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Many thanks to these lovely people for supporting Stargazer; I hope you can support them too!

New South Wales:

Annandale Cellars, Annandale
Aria, Sydney
The Australian Wine Centre, Sydney
Banksii, Sydney
Barangaroo House, Sydney
Bistro Molines, Mount View

Cafe Sydney, Circular Quay

Five Way Cellars, Paddington
Le Pont Wine Store, Milsons Point
One Penny Red, Summer Hill
Quay, The Rocks
Restaurant Botanica, Pokolbin
Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney
The Lambton Fridge, Lambton


Aloft, Hobart
Cool Wine, Hobart
Etties, Hobart
Fat Pig Farm, Cygnet
Johnston & Miller, Hobart
The Pinot Shop, Launceston
Pigeon Hole Cafe, West Hobart
Stillwater, Launceston
Stone and Barrow, Richmond
Tavern 42 Degrees South, Hobart
The Source Restaurant, MONA, Hobart
Timbre Kitchen, Legana
Waratah Hotel, Hobart
Willing Bros Wine Merchants, North Hobart


Armadale Cellars, Armadale
Atlas Vinifera, Richmond
City Wine Shop, Melbourne
Cloudwine Cellars, South Melbourne
Cutler & Co., Fitzroy
Gertrude Street Enoteca, Fitzroy
Independent Wine Store, Rye
Jackalope Hotel, Mornington Peninsula
Meat Fish Wine, Melbourne
Pure South Dining, Southbank
Red Spice QV, Melbourne
Sette Bello, Glen Waverley
Supernormal, Melbourne
Underwood Wine Bar, Fitzroy North
Union Street Wine, Geelong

South Australia:

2KW, Adelaide
Crafers Hotel, Crafers
East End Cellars, Adelaide

Edinburgh Cellars, Mitcham

Fino, Seppeltsfield
Mother Vine, Adelaide
Peel St, Adelaide

Western Australia:

COMO The Treasury, Perth
Frasers Restaurant, Kings Park
Mayfair Lane, West Perth
Settler’s Tavern, Margaret River
The Heritage Wine Bar, Perth

Australian Capital Territory:

Ainslie Cellars, Ainslie
Aubergine, Griffith
Rubicon, Griffith
Temporada, Canberra
The Boat House, Barton


Black Bird Bar and Grill, Brisbane
The Boom Boom Room, Brisbane
Camp Hill Cellars, Camp Hill
Craft Wine Store, Red Hill
Cru Bar + Cellar, Fortitude Valley
Customs House, Brisbane

Donna Chang Dining, Brisbane
Harvey’s Bar and Bistro, Fortitude Valley
Il Centro, Brisbane
Port Office Hotel, Brisbane
Sails, Noosa
The Alliance Hotel, Spring Hill
The Wine Emporium, Newstead
Wandering Cooks, South Brisbane


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2017 Stargazer Tasmania Pinot Noir:

‘The perfume is decidedly spicy, pepper, clove, anise, sour cherry, tart plum. Beautiful. The palate rolls together similar flavours with a light smoky edge, but what I like best is the tannin profile, silty, firm, exceptionally long, pulling the wine tight and finishing with light sappy-chewy tugs. Texture is a forte. It’s a serious feeling wine done very well.’

Mike Bennie, WINEFRONT,  14 January 2019

2017 Stargazer Tasmania Chardonnay:

‘The very talented Samantha Connew is making some outstanding wines under her Stargazer label in Tasmania and this Coal Valley chardonnay is drinking superbly well on release with beautiful cool-climate balance. A chardonnay that resonates.’

Winsor Dobbin, CIAO MAGAZINE, 7 December 2018 

2018 Stargazer Tasmania Riesling:

‘This delightful Coal River Valley riesling is green-tinted straw, honeysuckle scented and displays crisp, elegant lime flavour on the front palate. The middle palate has green apple, preserved lemon, sherbet and flint and the finish steely acid.’

John Lewis, THE NEWCASTLE HERALD, 12 January 2019

2018 Stargazer Tasmania Tupelo:

‘The aroma is intensely spicy and muscaty, as though there is some gewürztraminer in it (there is!). The palate is soft and round, fruity and rich, with a trace of sweetness but lovely clean acidity balancing it, the finish quite refreshing, lively and full of energy. Delicious wine.’

Huon Hooke, THE REAL REVIEW, 15 December 2018

2018 Stargazer Tasmania Rada:

‘This 12.5% alcohol blend of pinot meuniere and pinot noir is ruby red and has savoury scents and vibrant raspberry front-palate flavour. The middle palate shows cherry, cloves, spice and subtle mocha oak and the finish minty tannins.’

John Lewis, THE NEWCASTLE HERALD, 12 January 2019

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I would love to hear from you, whether it is about the wines, where to find them (including for wholesale sales enquiries) or to say g’day. And please do sing out if you’re heading to Tasmania. Contact details are:

Media: for high-resolution bottle shots please contact me on the e-mail above or click on these links for the Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Tupelo.


PO Box 215
North Hobart, TAS 7002

Ph. 0408 173 335

You can join the Stargazer mailing list by clicking the envelope icon below.

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Liquor Licensing Act 2007: It is against the law to sell or supply alcohol to, or to obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years. © Petrichor Wine Co Pty Ltd ABN 35 128 363 431 Liquor Licence No LIQW880014525.