news: the 2016 vintage in Tasmania


It would be an understatement to say it been a crazy start to the year for Stargazer and me. I thought there would be plenty of time to get acquainted with my new surroundings in southern Tasmania, having packed up my house, my wine cellar and my dog and departing the Hunter for Hobart in late February. Alas, Mother Nature and climate change had other plans and I started picking Chardonnay a full three weeks earlier than in 2015 and my feet pretty much haven’t hit the ground since then.

I’m really happy with how vintage has gone and with decent yields this year, it’s a good start to my new life as a grape grower. It has been quite a trip getting my head around this whole viticulture caper and I suspect that I’ll have many roadblocks, learning curves and stuff ups along the way. I’m confident that I have a great piece of cool climate dirt in the Coal River Valley though and I’m excited about my first wines to come off the Palisander Vineyard: the Riesling looks exceptional and the Pinot pretty and vibrant.

Plans are already afoot for new plantings so that eventually I can be completely self sufficient. The first step is to map the vineyard and try and match the unplanted areas from the perspective of soil type and exposure with varieties – lots to do and exciting times!

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.

As Stephen Hawking noted recently, ‘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 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, and am actively involved as a wine show judge, and have recently been appointed Chairman of Judges at the Sydney Royal Wine Show.

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2016 Tasmania Riesling:

The first wine from my Coal River Valley vineyard this is crammed with vibrant green apple and lemon pith notes on the nose, as well as lifted jasmine and crystallised ginger aromatics. The palate’s bright acidity and river stone flavours are balanced with a gentle fruit sweetness and a zesty finish.

STG Riesling NV

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

tasting notesblankDownload Order formblankBuy Riesling 2013


2016 Tasmania Pinot Noir:

Light, delicate and aromatic the 2016 Pinot Noir is all about crunchy red fruits (think pomegranates and cranberries) and a creamy, layered texture.

STG PinotNoir NV

RELEASED 1 JULY 2017! Pre-order is available via the order form below.
$50 per 750 ml bottle; available for $300/6 pack with free shipping
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

Download pre-order formblank


2015 Tasmania Chardonnay:

Pronounced yellow grapefruit pith and peach stone on the nose with background notes of blanched nuts and salted nougat. Some subtle sulphide characters from the wild ferment contribute complexity and depth. The palate has a creamy lanolin mid-palate, balanced by dry crisp acidity and a savoury finish showcasing the fruit purity.

$45 per 750ml bottle; available for $270/6 pack with free shipping
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

tasting notesblankDownload Order formblankBuy Pinot Noir 2012


2016 Tupelo:

Exotic and perfumed, the nose shows quince and orange flower notes as well as mineral wet stone characters. There is plenty of weight and texture on the palate, with a silky structure and supple phenolics coupled with crunchy natural acidity.

$30 per 750ml bottle; available for $180/6 pack with free shipping
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

tasting notesblankDownload Order formblankBuy Pinot Noir 2012

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

New South Wales:

Aria, Sydney
The Australian Wine Centre, Sydney
Bistro Molines, Mount View
Clareville Cellars, Avalon Beach
Cafe Sydney, Circular Quay

Chiswick, Woollahra
Five Way Cellars, Paddington
Ivy, Sydney
Muse Restaurant, Pokolbin
Quay, The Rocks
Restaurant Botanica, Pokolbin
Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney
Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, Circular Quay
The Paddington Inn, Paddington
4Fourteen, Surry Hills
12 Micron, Barangaroo


Aloft, Hobart
Blue Cafe Bar, Launceston

Cool Wine, Hobart
Etties, Hobart
Fat Pig Farm, Cygnet
Hill Street Home, West Hobart
Pinot Shop, Launceston
Stillwater, Launceston
Tasmanian Food & Wine Conservatory, Sassafras
Tavern 42 Degrees South, Hobart
The Agrarian Kitchen, Lachlan
The Glass House, Hobart
The Source Restaurant, MONA, Hobart
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
Decanter’s by the Bay, Port Melbourne
Gertrude Street Enoteca, Fitzroy
Harry and Frankie, Port Melbourne
Meat Fish Wine, Melbourne
Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne
Randall’s, Newtown
Red Spice QV, Melbourne
Supernormal, Melbourne
The Town Mouse, Carlton
Union Street Wine, Geelong

South Australia:

East End Cellars, Adelaide
Edinburgh Cellars, Mitcham

Fino, Seppeltsfield
Mother Vine, Adelaide
Peel St, Adelaide

Western Australia:

Il Lido Italian Canteen, Cottesloe

Australian Capital Territory:

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


Black Bird Bar and Grill, Brisbane
Craft Wine Store, Red Hill
Cru Bar + Cellar, Fortitude Valley
Customs House, Brisbane

Harvey’s Bar and Bistro, Fortitude Valley
Il Centro, Brisbane
Sails, Noosa
The Alliance Hotel, Spring Hill
The Wine Emporium, Newstead


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2014 Stargazer Tasmania Pinot Noir:

‘Sweet fruit, ripe and succulent, the lush fruit supported by a backing of well-judged tannins. A rich, profound, full-bodied pinot of great class and potential.’ 97 points

Huon Hooke, HUONHOOKE.COM, 21 October 2015

‘Texture is the key here. Soft belly, muscular tannin, cranberry-like acidity to finish. Smells like red cherries, pure, subtle whiffs of earth and dried herbs. Sapid, sappiness of fruit character to taste – pretty much sticks to the palate, but lightly.’

Mike Bennie, WINEFRONT, 30 August 2015

‘This divine single-vineyard, wild ferment pinot from Tasmania’s Huon Valley is a multi-layered drop that reveals its charm with time in the glass.’

Toni Paterson MW, AUSTRALIAN HOUSE & GARDEN, December 2015

2015 Stargazer Tasmania Chardonnay:

‘The nose is a fascinating combination of grapefruit, white nectarine, nuts and butter. The long palate is creamy, finishing with typical Tasmanian acidity. A fine expression of grape variety and place.’


‘Defining the modern era of winemaking in this variety, wild ferment, judicious barrel use, and fabulous mouth-refreshing acidity drive the wine while all of the wonderful fruit flavours of white peach and nectarine with grapefruit juice tang are exemplary.’

Tony Love, THE ADVERTISER, 10 November 2016 

2016 Stargazer Tasmania Riesling:

‘The 2016 Stargazer Riesling in genuinely thrilling, its bright citrus and green-apple characters energised by a thrilling and finely poised natural acidity that hums through the wine like a struck tuning fork.’

Nick Ryan, THE AUSTRALIAN, 10 January 2017

‘The 2016 Stargazer Riesling is a beautiful wine, elegantly proportioned, with a stylish presentation.’

Toni Paterson MW, THE REAL REVIEW, 4 January 2016

‘The palate is intense and delicate, refined and frisky, with wonderful vitality which is a sheer joy to taste. The back-palate and finish are loaded with juicy fruit and mouth-watering acidity in perfect harmony. Impressive wine.’ 96 points

Huon Hooke, HUONHOOKE.COM, 9 December 2016

‘This is a riesling to lap up and enjoy – as you marvel at it. There’s a slip of sweetness and plenty of citrussy acidity; there’s a floral abundance but also gentle input from sweeter, crystallised fruits. It both sears and seduces, and manages to do it in harmony.’

Campbell Mattinson, THE WINE FRONT, 12 December 2016

‘Along with hedgerow aromatics and bright citrus and Granny Smith apple notes, you’ll find river pebble and quartz minerality and some fruit sweetness. The wine is a result of whole-bunch and wild ferments and was matured in a mix of stainless steel, ceramic eggs and older oak. Downright delicious, but it might pay to be quick as only 4533 bottles were produced. ‘

Winsor Dobbin, TASMANIAN WINE ONLINE, 16 September 2016

‘The wine…zips onto the front of the palate with ruby grapefruit flavour. Nashi pear, lime,ginger and slate characters show on the middle palate and river stones acid refreshes at the finish’

John Lewis, NEWCASTLE HERALD, 12 November 2016

2016 Stargazer Tasmania Tupelo:

‘…rich, textural white with honey aromas spliced with pear, pink grapefruit and stonefruit. It opens up to reveal a complex yet refreshing citrus palate with a succinct finish.’

Peter Bourne, AUSTRALIAN GOURMET TRAVELLER WINE, February/March 2017

‘Rose petal and lychee aromatics burst from the glass and drive straight on in to the palate. Honeysuckle. Apple blossoms. It’s frisky and it’s floral, it fills the mouth with flavour and it bursts through the finish.’

Campbell Mattinson, THE WINE FRONT, 18 October 2016

‘…a zingy blend…lychee scents and quince front-palate flavour. Lemon curd, star anise and mixed peel chime in on the middle palate and gunmetal acid plays at the finish.’

John Lewis, NEWCASTLE HERALD, 12 November 2016


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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.