news: spring 2017


Ever wondered what winemakers do when they are not making wine?

Well, if you fall in the category of person who quite often bites off then they can chew, then it turns out you decide to plant another 2ha of vineyard!

This has been quite the exercise for me, as I haven’t been involved in planting a vineyard from scratch before. Turns out like most things, it’s all in the preparation: or basically, pulling out a lot more rock than I thought. Short term pain for long term gain, I keep telling myself though as the soil and the aspect are great and I’m excited about getting the first fruit off in a couple of years (hopefully).

Stage one is some more Pinot Noir (four different clones) and Riesling and some Chardonnay as well (four clones also).

The plan is to be completely self-sufficient so to that end, stage two in a couple of years time will involve another 1.5 hectares. Firstly though, I need to get my new vinebabies in the ground, get them up and growing and hopefully keep the Tasmanian wildlife from eating them!

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

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2017 Tasmania Riesling:

Crammed with vibrant green apple and citrus yuzu notes on the nose, as well as lifted jasmine and pickled ginger aromatics. The palate’s bright acidity and talcy texture are balanced with a gentle fruit sweetness and a zesty finish, all whilst being framed by some structural phenolics.

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

tasting notesblankDownload Order formblank2017 Riesling


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.

SOLD OUT; please contact me if you would like to find out when the 2017 is released.
$50 per 750 ml bottle; available for $300/6 pack with free shipping
Minimum order 6 bottles; straight or mixed

2016 Pinot Noir tasting noteblankDownload Order formblankBuy 2016 Pinot Noir


2016 Tasmania Chardonnay:

Medium straw in colour with green hints, the nose has plenty of white nectarine and honeydew melon fruit with some nutty almond oak underneath. The palate is savoury and well balanced with a long core of fruit persistence, finishing with the trademark pristine acid typical of Tasmania.

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

tasting notesblankDownload Order formblank2016 Stargazer Chardonnay


2017 Tupelo:

Perfumed and lifted, the nose shows quince and rose water notes with ripe pear. There is plenty of weight and slippery texture on the palate, with a fine, zesty acid coupled with some subtle phenolics providing both persistence and length.

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

2017 Tupelo tasting notesblankDownload Order formblank2017 Tupelo

2017 Rada:

The newest wine to join the Stargazer line-up is a co-fermented blend of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir from the 2017 vintage. With the Noir component contributing soft red berry fruits, the Meunier is all savoury, earthy mushrooms 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

2017 Rada tasting noteblankDownload Order formblank2017 Tupelo

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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
Devine Food and Wine, Sydney
Five Way Cellars, Paddington
Ivy, Sydney
Lock, Stock and Bottle, Abbotsford
Manning Street Cellars, Kiama
Muse Restaurant, Pokolbin
Quay, The Rocks
Restaurant Botanica, Pokolbin
Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney
Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, Circular Quay
The Paddington Inn, Paddington
Woy Woy Fishermen’s Wharf
4Fourteen, Surry Hills


Aloft, Hobart
Blue Cafe Bar, Launceston

Cool Wine, Hobart
Etties, Hobart
Fat Pig Farm, Cygnet
MACq 01, Hobart
The Pinot Shop, Launceston
Pigeon Hole Cafe, West Hobart
Stillwater, Launceston
Stone and Barrow, Richmond
Tasmanian Food & Wine Conservatory, Sassafras
Tavern 42 Degrees South, Hobart
The Agrarian Kitchen, Lachlan
The Source Restaurant, MONA, Hobart
Timbre Kitchen, Legana
Waratah Hotel, Hobart
Willing Bros Wine Merchants, North Hobart


Armadale Cellars, Armadale
Atlas Vinifera, Richmond
Atticus Wine Bar, Yarra Glen
Bacash, South Yarra
Bottega Tasca, Carlton
City Wine Shop, Melbourne
Cloudwine Cellars, South Melbourne
Cutler & Co., Fitzroy
Decanters by the Bay, Port Melbourne
Gertrude Street Enoteca, Fitzroy
Harry and Frankie, Port Melbourne
Jackalope Hotel, Mornington Peninsula
Meat Fish Wine, Melbourne
Pure South Dining, Southbank
Randall’s, Newtown
Red Spice QV, Melbourne
Sette Bello, Glen Waverley
Supernormal, Melbourne
The Town Mouse, Carlton
Underwood Wine Bar, Fitzroy North
Union Street Wine, Geelong

South Australia:

2KW, Adelaide
Barn Steakhouse, Mt Gambier
Crafers Hotel, Crafers
East End Cellars, Adelaide

Edinburgh Cellars, Mitcham

Fino, Seppeltsfield
Mother Vine, Adelaide
Peel St, Adelaide

Western Australia:

Budburst, Mount Hawthorn
COMO The Treasury, Perth
Il Lido Italian Canteen, Cottesloe
Frasers Restaurant, Kings Park
Settler’s Tavern, Margaret River
The Heritage Wine Bar, Perth
The Wine Thief, Leederville

Australian Capital Territory:

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


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


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2016 Stargazer Tasmania Pinot Noir:

‘Seamlessly sluiced with acidity, the fruit is lingering, with a coulis-like creaminess, purity and smoothness.  With the deftest hand at the (good phenolics) tiller, this Pinot’s immersive tannins make for an ever so drinkable Pinot which drinks beautifully now.’

Sarah Ahmed, THE WINE DETECTIVE, 25 August 2017

‘There’s a suggestion of orange amaro with pepper, red fruit and delicate cushiony tannins completing the picture. A fabulously beguiling wine.’

Tony Love, HOBART MERCURY, November 25-26 2017

2016 Stargazer Tasmania Chardonnay:

‘Here’s an instant masterclass in getting all…elements in perfect balance. Just the right amount of gingery oak enhancing vibrant stone and citrus fruits with crunchy acidity underneath, and a freshness that sings purity and deliciousness. Awesome.’

Tony Love, THE ADVERTISER, 1 December 2017 

‘The wine is understated and refined, intense and complex with a long carry and terrific precision. A stunner.’

Huon Hooke, THE REAL REVIEW, 13 January 2018

2017 Stargazer Tasmania Riesling:

‘Pitch-perfect tension between fruit sweetness and line with stunning pure fruit and a lovely fresh, yet textural, mouthfeel. A producer doing great things.’

Dave Brookes, THE ADELAIDE REVIEW, 1 December 2017

‘A generous, rich, soft and beautifully balanced wine which will reward cellaring. However lovely it tastes right now, it has a big future.’

Huon Hooke, THE REAL REVIEW, 1 January 2018

2017 Stargazer Tasmania Rada:

‘Fresh and juicy red berry flavours ally with savoury/spice notes from the meunier to produce a red that’s perfect for summer sipping – and can even be chilled for a few minutes on warmer days.’

Winsor Dobbin, TASMANIAN WINE ONLINE, 9 December 2017

‘A stylish contemporary wine for sipping and savouring made from grapes grown in Pipers Brook and the Coal River Valley. Excellent length, presence and energy. Simply fabulous.’

Toni Paterson MW, THE REAL REVIEW, 5 January 2018


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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.