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Johnno's Story

“What an excellent day, fantastically led by John with his encyclopaedic knowledge of the area” – Dave X

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 became his summer holiday programme throughout his University holidays.

After completing a four year degree in Strategic Management and Marketing, Johnno 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 perfect waves, good wine, and a job!

Johnno managed to get two vintages under his belt at Amberley Wines, which led into more cellar door sales and vineyard work. Johnno 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 a “man and his van” Owner/Manager/Tour Operator in July 2007.  Since then, the business has flourished and is now the most awarded wine tour operator in the south west, with five vehicles, a full-time administration team, a carefully selected crew of legendary tour guides, and injects over a million dollars p/a into the local economy!

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, and his crew at Wine for Dudes, promote the Margaret River wine region to its visitors!

Wine for dudes owner John O'Connor playing the guitar in the vineyard of bosten brewery denmark western australia margaret river best wine tour dunsborough
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