Johnno’s fascination and experience in the wine industry began between high school and university when he started working at his local winery,
Preston's Kiwifruit Winery/Mills Reef. The Preston's Kiwifruit winery label has won best New Zealand fruit winery on numerous occasions.
This winery helped to fund the Mills Reef Premium Winery, twice winner of ‘Best New Zealand Producer’ and winner of the trophy at the London
international wine show for their Syrah. Johnno began bottling/labelling, working in the warehouse, cellar and giving tasting’s at winery
sponsored events. At the same time, he was working nights in the kitchen at Somerset cottage, a gourmet restaurant with a cult-like following.
This become his summer holiday programme throughout his University holidays.
After completing a four year degree in Strategic Management and Marketing, Johno completed a vintage at Montana Wines in Gisborne - New Zealand’s largest wine producer. Ten months of surfing and snowboarding led him back to Mills Reef Winery, where he crushed the first grapes of vintage, before flying solo to Western Australia, namely Margaret River, in search of large, perfect waves and a job!
Johnno managed to get two vintages under his belt at Amberley Wines, which led in to cellar door sales and vineyard work. Johno also worked as bar supervisor at the Bootleg Brewery, one of the South West’s premier tourist attractions.
Johnno began managing Wine for Dudes in 2006, and having fallen in love with the South West region, decided to buy the business as Owner/Manager/Tour Operator in July 2007. Johnno’s passion for wine, travel, surfing and meeting people makes working in this industry extremely fulfilling for him, and it shows in the way he delivers his exceptional tours!
As written by John O'Connor - Chief Dude of Wine for Dudes! What a time to wind down and reflect on the awesome experiences and people that made up the Gourmet Escape 2018! I didn’t want to attend the premier events this year; although they are awesome one-off experiences, I have attended a range of these functions in the past, so this year I opted to go for a few of the more down-to-earth events, and enjoy all the fun and frivolity that GE attracts. ..