Australia’s women in wine to watch

Samantha Connew 

Samantha Connew’s wine epiphany came while studying law and English literature in Christchurch, New Zealand, and working part time at a wine bar where she discovered the drops of the gods that inspired her to travel the world and train as a winemaker.

She completed her first vintage in Oregon, where she fell hopelessly in love with Pinot Noir, then went on to make wine in Italy and Spain before settling in Australia, where she spent a decade as senior winemaker at Wirra Wirra in the McLaren Vale.

She recently struck out with her own Tasmanian label – Stargazer – which pays homage to Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, the first person to reach Tasmania, in 1642.

Her range includes a Pinot, Chardonnay and a white blend made from Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Connew’s winemaking style is “respectful of fruit, variety, vineyard and place”. Thus far, she’s most pleased with her 2015 Stargazer Chardonnay. “It comes closest to what I want to do with the variety,” she says.

Desert island wine: Domaine de La Romanée-Conti La Tâche 1978.

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