ABOUT

Early Days

I grew up in and around the historic regions of Henderson, Kumeu, Huapai and Waimauku, West Auckland where the undulating hills were covered in orchards, market gardens and vineyards. My family owned a 8 hectare farm lovingly called 'Eros Gardens' where my entire childhood was spent  frolicking in beds of vegetables, flower fields and climbing mature trees in the orchard to pick fruit high up in the branches. My first job in life was working on the farm. 

 

On weekends I was dropped off at nana and poppas farm up in Waimauku where I sped around on motorbikes and made bow-and-arrows with bamboo. Other weekends I was with Oma and Opa at Pleasant Valley Wines in Henderson Valley where I ran through the vines to stop only to eat handfuls of Pinotage and Chardonnay grapes. 

In my twenties I worked on strawberry farms, vineyards and in a garden centre before I earned two degrees in Viticulture and Oenology where I studied soil science, plant physiology, botany, microbiology, biochemistry and everything to do with growing and making wine. Fast forward a few decades and I once again returned to Kumeu but this time as a winemaker. I worked across all facets of the wine business at a number of New Zealand’s top wineries. I won awards at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards and featured as an associate wine judge in New Zealand's premium wine magazine - Wine NZ. I was also featured overseas in Sweden's highly acclaimed wine book Tjugo Svenska Vingårdar. 

Bordeaux Bound

At the age of 33 I secured a position at a Grand Cru château in Saint-Julien, Bordeaux. Château Langoa and Leoville Barton was my destination. One of the finest châteaux in Bordeaux and France. A château with family roots reaching back before the time of Napoleon. The farm boy from Kumeu spent two vintages spanning two years living and working alongside winemaking royalty.

The team at Chateau Langoa and Leoville Barton
The team at Chateau Langoa and Leoville Barton
In the cellars of Chateau Leoville Barton, Bordeaux
In the cellars of Chateau Leoville Barton, Bordeaux

Authorship

100 Great New Zealand Wineries
100 Great New Zealand Wineries

 

 

 

 

My passion for wine didn't end there. I also painstakingly wrote a book on New Zealand's finest wineries. I walked the vineyards, searched the cellars and talked with winemakers and vineyard managers to gather fascinating insights about the viticulture methods employed, the oenology practices used and the people who work long days in the vineyard and equally long nights in the cellar. Often visiting wineries several times, and always with my camera, I captured the beauty and seasonal differences of vineyards around the country.

 

100 Great New Zealand Wineries was published in New Zealand bookstores nationwide in 2017. Featured on TV, radio and podcasts, my book was well received by New Zealanders and wine lovers from around the world. My passion and drive lead me to write my second book on wine which is planned to be published late 2024. 

New Beginnings - Farming & Gardening

 

 

 

 

Once returning to NZ from Bordeaux, I settled down  in Tauranga and returned to gardening and growing things to eat at the dinner table. The desire to provide a similar environment for my kids as to what I had in my own childhood began to sprout. I planted more garden beds around the shed and grew a wide array of herbs and vegetables. I remembered the garden beds I used to play and work in and the markets I attended with my family and I knew that’s what I wanted to have for my own kids as they came into their informative childhood years. The days of working as a winemaker were over and I knew where I wanted to focus my time, effort and skill set - as a regenerative, organic farmer and gardener for the community.

Fast forward a bit, and I moved to New Plymouth, (a hub for horticulture and artisan growers) and I got down to business setting up a little farm. When I wasn’t working on projects, I was learning from the best market gardeners in New Zealand and overseas. I did masterclasses, attended workshops and learnt under the tutelage of Jodi Roebuck of Roebuck Farms where I refined my skill-set. Working with the land is something I see as a life-long journey. This journey has lead me all over the world and back again to the wild west coast of New Zealand where I am in the process of building a bio-intensive farm and garden for my family and community.