news: 2016 vintage update


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 Hobart, having packed up my house, my wine cellar and my dog and departing the Hunter 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 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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Riesling 2016:

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 + freight
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

tasting notesblankDownload Order formblankBuy Riesling 2013


Pinot Noir 2016:

STG PinotNoir NV

COMING SOON! Please get in touch if you would like to know when the next Pinot is released.
$50 per 750 ml bottle; available for $300/6 pack + freight
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

tasting notesblankDownload Order formblankBuy Pinot Noir 2012


Chardonnay 2015:

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 + freight
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

tasting notesblankDownload Order formblankBuy Pinot Noir 2012


Tupelo 2016:

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 + freight
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
Bushrangers Bar and Brasserie, Largs 
The Cellar, Pokolbin
Chiswick, Woollahra
Esca Bimbadgen, Pokolbin
Four In Hand Dining Room, Paddington
Firefly, Neutral Bay
Five Way Cellars, Paddington
Guillaume, Paddington
Ivy, Sydney
Margan Restaurant, Broke
Otto Ristorante, Woolloomooloo
Prince Wine Store, Zetland
Quay, The Rocks
Reserve Wine Bar, Newcastle
Restaurant Botanica, Pokolbin
Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney
Sailors Thai, The Rocks


Australian Capital Territory:

Farmhouse Restaurant at Pialligo Estate, Pialligo



Blue Cafe Bar, Launceston
Cool Wine, Hobart
Me Wah, Hobart
Pinot Shop, Launceston
Stillwater, Launceston
Tasmanian Food & Wine Conservatory, Sassafras
Tavern 42 Degrees South, Hobart
The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart
The Source Restaurant, MONA, Hobart
Willing Bros Wine Merchants, North Hobart



Armadale Cellars, Armadale
Barrique Wine Store, Healesville
Blackhearts and Sparrows, Fitzroy North
Bistrot d’Orsay, Melbourne
Cloudwine Cellars, South Melbourne
CRU, Kew
Cutler & Co., Fitzroy
Gertrude Street Enoteca, Fitzroy
Harry and Frankie, Port Melbourne
Meatsmith, Fitzroy
Noble Rot, Port Lonsdale
Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne
Randall’s, Newtown
Supernormal, Melbourne
Toorak Cellars, Armadale
Union Street Wine, Geelong


South Australia:

East End Cellars, Adelaide
Edinburgh Cellars, Mitcham

Fino, Seppeltsfield
Hanuman, Adelaide
Peel St, Adelaide
The Salopian Inn, McLaren Vale
The Stirling Hotel Cellars, Stirling



Anise, New Farm
Black Bird Bar and Grill, Brisbane

Craft Wine Store, Red Hill

Cru Bar + Cellar, Fortitude Valley
Customs House, Brisbane

Esquire, Brisbane
Gerard’s Bistro, Fortitude Valley
Harvey’s Bar and Bistro, Fortitude Valley
Il Centro, Brisbane
Sails, Noosa
The Wine Emporium, Newstead


Western Australia:

Grand Cru Wineshop & Cellar, Mt Lawley
Perugino Restaurant, Perth


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2014 Stargazer Pinot Noir:

‘Texture is the key here. Soft belly, muscular tannnin, 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

‘Deep red colour with a lacing of purple. The bouquet is fragrantly red-fruited, raspberry and redcurrant, spices and a touch of smoke, and a faint hint of herbs, all in fine harmony. 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.’

Huon Hooke,, 3 December 2015

2014 Stargazer Chardonnay:

‘Whiffs of smoke, steel, green apple, faint nuttiness and nougat. Sweetish start, comely with chardonnay essence. Clatters across the palate, citrus and apples, licks of creamy wood, finishes with sharp whipcrack of zesty acidity. Easy to drink, quite simple in profile but with a decided delicate intent from winemaking – refreshing, unadorned style with great clarity of fruit flavour.’

Mike Bennie, WINEFRONT, 30 August 2015

‘Here’s a chardonnay of immaculate quality from Samantha Connew. It shines green-tinted straw in the glass, has scents of citrus and crushed almonds and brings elegant nectarine flavour to the front of the palate. Lime zest, gun metal and nashi pear fruit characters integrate with vanillin oak on the middle palate and slatey acid homes in at the finish.’

John Lewis, NEWCASTLE HERALD, 16 September 2015

‘Made using grapes from two vineyards in southern Tasmania, this is an elegant chardonnay, with creamy, nutty flavours.’

Max Allen, THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN, 26 September 2015

‘…delicious, contemporary chardonnay in a sophisticate styling where craft winemaking has employed wild ferment, steered yeast and oak impacts cleverly and entwined all the trademark stone fruit and citrus elements of the variety to a balanced complex wine without spikes or edges.’

Tony Love, THE MERCURY, 24 November 2015 

2015 Stargazer Riesling:

‘Tangy little number here. Shows some lees-yeast-biscuity flavours and squeakiness in texture. It’s linear, tight, leanish. Grapefruity tang, stiff chalky acidity. Smells like floral yeasty notes, wet steel, mixed citrus peel. Good package here. Pretty satisfying.’

Mike Bennie, WINEFRONT, 30 August 2015

This baby riesling is still somewhat in its shell, but is brilliantly zesty and fresh, tangy and juicy in the mouth, loaded with zip and vitality. There’s a tickle of sweetness which combines with the acidity to give lift and momentum. A superb wine that will reward cellaring.’

Huon Hooke, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10 November 2015

2015 Stargazer Tupelo:

‘Pops out of the glass with floral yeasty notes, whiff of green apple, squeeze of lime. It’s tangy and fresh to taste, quite delicate actually, mouthwatering watery texture, brisk crisp finish. There are suggestions of nuttiness throughout. Nice drinking with understated complexity.’

Mike Bennie, WINEFRONT, 30 August 2015

‘…it can’t help but exude a wonderful aroma of rose petals, musk, kaffir lime leaf before it slips onto the palate with all of that continuing along with the sense of evaporating wet pebbles and mineral salts. Mouthwatering.’

Tony Love, THE MERCURY, 15 September 2015

‘With summer garden aromatics and river pebble minerality, it has plenty of interest on the palate (thanks to a wild ferment and lees stirring) with some natural fruit sweetness and bright, crisp acidity on the finish…Worth seeking out.’

Winsor Dobbin, THE SUNDAY EXAMINER, 27 September 2015

‘Adventure is embodied by Samantha Connew in this beguiling blend of Tasmanian pinot gris, gewurztraminer and riesling…Crisp pear flavour comes through on the front of the palate and elements of quince, lime zest, green apple and gunmetal chime in on the middle palate. Mineral edged acidity refreshes at the finish.’

John Lewis, NEWCASTLE HERALD, 3 October 2015


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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. 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.