Samantha (Sam) Connew has racked up a series of exceptional achievements, commencing with Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Arts degrees, majoring in political science and English literature, from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ, but showing her future direction by obtaining a postgraduate diploma of oenology and viticulture from Lincoln University, Canterbury, NZ. Sam moved to Australia, undertaking the advanced wine assessment course at the Australian Wine Research Institute in 2000, being chosen as a scholar at the ’02 Len Evans Tutorial, winning the George Mackey Award for the best wine exported from Australia in ’04; and in ’07 was made International Red Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine Challenge, London. After a highly successful and lengthy position as chief winemaker at Wirra Wirra, Sam moved to Tasmania (via the Hunter Valley) to make the first wines for her own business, something she said she would never do. The emotive name (and label) is in part a tribute to Abel Tasman, the first European to sight Tasmania before proceeding to the South Island of NZ, navigating by the stars. Exports to the UK, the US and Singapore.
From one island in the South Pacific to another: a Kiwi dreamer making tiny quantities of Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay in Tasmania.
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.