Samantha Connew (AUS)

Stargazer Winemaker & Director 

A highly experienced and respected winemaker and consultant, Samantha Connew launched her Tasmanian solo project Stargazer in 2013. Prior to this, she was employed working in applied research, development and extension for the Australian Wine Research Institute as Manager of the Hunter Valley Node. She was the Winemaker/Manager of boutique Hunter Valley winery, Tower Estate, after working in McLaren Vale for ten years as the Senior Winemaker at WirraWirra Vinevards.
Amongst her many achievements, she has twice ben nominated by the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology as ‘Winemaker of the Year’ as well as twice being a finalist for Gourmet Traveller Wine’s winemaker award. In 2022 Stargazer was recognised for the quality of its wines by being a finalist in the Halliday Wine Companion Awards ‘Winery of the Year’ and followed this in 2023 with being nominated for ‘Winemaker of the Year’.
She has served on the boards of several regional associations and was a board member of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology and a founding advisory board member of the Australian Women in Wine Awards. She is currently a director on the Wine Tasmania Board and a mentor in the Wine Communicators of Australia Mentor Program. She is highly respected wine show judge and has chaired many regional and capital  city wine shows, having completed both the AWRI’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course and the Len Evans  Tutorial, where she continues her involvement as a board member, tutor and a member of the working group.
In 2014 she was appointed Chair of Judges at the Sydney Royal Wine Show, the first female and the youngest judge in that position. In 2016 she acquired a small vineyard and olive grove in the Coal River Valley north east of Hobart, which she expanded by an additional four hectares in 2017 and 2021. Under her stewardship, this vineyard was awarded ‘Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year’ in May 2019.

“I’m thrilled to be returning ‘home’ to Aotearoa to learn how Kiwi winemakers express sense of place in their Chardonnay as well as contributing what our current approach and understanding of site is in lutruwita/Tasmania."

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