One of Australia's most talented winemakers is aiming to make a permanent move to Tasmania before the start of the 2016 vintage.
Samantha Connew, former chief winemaker at Wirra Wirra in McLaren Vale and Tower Estate in the Hunter Valley, has her heart set on expanding her Stargazer wine label, for which she currently buys fruit from both the Tamar Valley and southern regions.
New Zealand-born Connew, who is also the chairman of judges at the Royal Sydney Wine Show, launched Stargazer two years ago and has already built a major following in Sydney and Melbourne.
“I'm looking to move down to Tassie before vintage next year (fingers crossed) and am scouting around for vineyard land – serious stuff,” Connew says.
Hunter Valley-based Connew, who is also a qualified lawyer, has long had a fascination with Tasmania and now has the chance to move here full-time after ending a stint with the Australian Wine Research Institute.
“The first case of wine that I ever bought was from Tasmania; a dozen bottles of Tamar Ridge Riesling,” Connew recalls. “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 15 years I end up in Tasmania making pinot noir, riesling and chardonnay.”
The new Stargazer releases see the range increased from two to four with the outstanding new white blend Tupelo ($30), added to the 2015 Riesling ($30), the 2013 Pinot Noir ($50) and the 2014 Chardonnay ($40); all beautifully crafted wines.