How Tasmania lured gun winemaker Samantha Connew: S10E2

Samantha Connew of Stargazer Wines, Coal River Valley, Tasmania

Renowned winemaker Samantha Connew launched her own label Stargazer Wines in 2013 by purchasing a parcel of grapes on her credit card.

The bootstrapped operation has since grown into one of Tasmania’s most exciting boutique wineries.

In 2016, Sam purchased a small riesling and pinot noir vineyard in the Coal River Valley that she has supplemented by planting new clones of pinot noir and chardonnay, along with some more riesling, and gamay soon to come.

In this wine podcast episode of Drinks Adventures, Sam shares her somewhat unusual path into winemaking that began with a student job in a Christchurch wine bar.

Seizing an opportunity to work her first vintage in Oregon, USA, Sam was hooked immediately. Her wine career since has included additional overseas vintages in Italy and Spain, and back in Australia, lengthy stints in McLaren Vale and the Hunter Valley.

Samantha Connew of Stargazer Wines, Coal River Valley, Tasmania
Samantha Connew of Stargazer Wines, Coal River Valley, Tasmania

A highly respected wine judge who has been a panel chair at many regional and capital city wine shows, Sam was appointed Chair of Judges at the Sydney Royal Wine Show in 2014.

She was the first female and the youngest judge to achieve that position, but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

In fact, Sam says her decision to launch Stargazer was due in part to the blatant sexism she’s dealt with throughout her career.

First up though, Sam recounts how she transitioned from law student to winemaker.

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