Winemaker / Director

New Zealander originally from Blenheim. She got inspired with wine whilst studying law at Christchurch University, working part time at a wine bar which was owned at the time by a qualified winemaker. Realising Law wasn’t for her she went back to study viticulture and began working vintages around the world, starting at Elk Cove in 1996, one of Oregon’s most respected Pinot Noir producers.

Vintages in Sicily, Western Australia, Oregon for a second time, Mclaren Vale, Hunter Valley and then settling in Tasmania specifically to start her own winery. Amongst her many achievements. In 2007 she was awarded ‘International Red Winemaker of the Year’ at the International Wine Challenge in London. She was a board member of the Australian society of Viticulture and Oenology and was a founding advisory board member of the Australian Women in Wine Awards. She is currently director of the Wine Tasmanian Board


2012 marked the first vintage of Stargazer. For the next few years she purchased fruit from Huon Valley and Derwent but had a passion for the Coal River Valley. She passionately believes that this subregion was the ideal spot to be able to make the kind of Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir she wanted. In 2016 this dream became a reality and she purchased an 11 hectare site, of which 1 hectare was planted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Since then she has planted 2 more hectares compromising of Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with another 2 planned for planting in 2021. She is still buying some fruit from growers while these new plantings establish themselves. Samantha makes the wines at Pooley currently, just a few miles up the road from her vineyard. The range is both expressive and concise. All wild fermentations, no added acid, gentle use of oak. Palisander has a touch of extended time on skins, some whole bunch techniques in the Pinot Noir.


Single Vineyard Riesling 2019

This wine teeters on the brink between ‘dry’ and ‘off dry’, but simply put it’s just superbly balanced in terms of acid and fruit/RS. A Riesling with natural acid (2.87 PH) and with only 9.1 grams residual it’s an absolute pleasure of a wine that showcases the potential of the Coal River for this variety. Sourced from her own vines in Tea Tree subregion of Coal River, planted in 2004 at a vineyard density 5000 vines per hectare. Hand picked, destemmed and left on skins for 8 hours before being pressed off to both tank and seasoned barrel (25%) for fermentation. Samantha stopped the tank ferment 2 months post picking and then lees for 3 months, stirring fortnightly.

Palisander Riesling 2019

The second release of this wine. Sourced from her own vineyards in the subregion of Tea Tree in the NW side of the Coal River Valley region.
This is Samantha’s more ‘experimental’ expression of the variety, her goal to showcase texture vs the more classic Single vineyard Riesling release.
Hand picked of which a small portion is skin fermented. All juice whether on skins or pressed off is fermented in Ceramic egg then 10 months on lees post fermentation. Samantha highlights that the soil is Palisander which in layman’s terms is clay loam over ironstone with a high level of calcium, which she mentions promotes thick skins. She loves the extra flavour from this.

Chardonnay – Derwent Valley 2018

Sourced from a grower in the Upper Derwent Valley. 2018 was one of Tasmania’s warmest growing seasons, much welcomed by most due to the apparent mild and windy weather in Nov/Dec/Jan. Hand picked, whole bunch pressed to oak for fermentation. Wild ferment in 500ltr French oak, 30% new. 25% of the overall blend went through Malolactic. No lees stirring, left in barrel for 8 months. Of all the white wines I enjoyed this wine the most on tasting, perhaps because she is a big fan as we are of Chablis.

Rada – Pinot Meunier/Pinot Noir 2020

Interestingly Samantha named this wine as a tip of the hat to Rada Penfold Collins, who in the 70’s represented Penfolds PR department and was perhaps Australia’s first female wine columnist, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald. The Pinot Meunier for this wine is sourced from Pipers Brook region in the North East of Tasmania. That region of course is synonymous with sparkling wine production hence how she managed to find some. The blend is 66% Pinot Meunier 34% Pinot Noir. Samantha destems the Meunier for fermentation whilst leaving 25% of the Pinot Noir as whole bunches. Both varieties are co-fermented, pressed off to tank then racked off gross lees into seasoned French puncheons. Elevage for 5 months.

Pinot Noir 2019

No question for me that the 2019 warmer vintage conditions has added fleshiness to this superb Pinot Noir vs the 2018 that I tasted prior to this release. Not better, just different, very charming. This the fourth vintage release from her Tea Tree Pallisander vineyard, planted in 2002. Hand picked, 25% whole bunch with the remainder destemmed but not crushed. Cold soak for three days pre ferment. Pressed off to French oak puncheons, 20% new. Ten months elevage.

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