Vineyard image with the text "The New Zealand Wine Diaries Mastering the Conversation" Vineyard image with the text "The New Zealand Wine Diaries Mastering the Conversation"

Organic Wine - Dispel the myths and embrace the future

Lead MW - Stephen Wong MW
With - David Keck MS, John Szabo MS & Ronan Sayburn MS


In Session One of the Wine Diaries, we discussed the powerhouse grape of Sauvignon Blanc in its many forms. Session Two covered the Burgundian varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with their amazing expressions throughout the two islands. In Session Three we looked to the future and where the pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit of New Zealand winegrowing will take us next in the constantly evolving wine landscape

Session Four coincides with New Zealand Organic Wine Week so this session will examine how sustainability, organics, biodynamics and natural wine all come together.  We will take a bird's eye view of the unique development of winegrowing in NZ which is based on organic principles - Biodynamics on the one side and wider sustainable practices on the other and how low-impact winemaking is applied in the winery.  We then move to a grassroots perspective, exploring the stories behind the wines we have selected to see how each winegrower has embodied these philosophies in practice - telling the narrative of people and places.


David Keck MS - David was most recently a partner in Houston’s Goodnight Hospitality group. He has just returned to his home state of Vermont to explore new pursuits in the beverage industry. When not talking about New Zealand wine, David can be found whispering words of encouragement to his sourdough starter, Milton, and pruning Apple trees in northern Vermont.

John Szabo MS - Canada’s first Master Sommelier, author, presenter and critic with, (former) intrepid traveller, and fanatic of racy, cool climate wines. John speaks 5 languages, but has promised to present mostly in English.  When not tasting wine, he can be found drinking wine and chopping wood in his wine country farmhouse in Prince Edward County (not in that order).

Ronan Sayburn MS - Ronan Sayburn is a Master Sommelier and currently Head of Wine at wine lovers haven 67 Pall Mall in London, plus CEO for the Court of Master Sommeliers Europe. When not doing something with wine, Ronan can be found deep diving shipwrecks off the south coast of England. He finds it best to keep the two pursuits very separate.

Stephen Wong MW - Stephen is a recovering somm, ex-DJ who calls Wellington home. He runs a small wine education venue and hospitality support business called Wine Sentience, teaches wine at Le Cordon Bleu and sticks his nose into NZ's natural wine festivals; Budburst and Nouvelle. He is formally involved with the IMW's Education Committee and co-chairs their Diversity Committee but his natural inclination towards either exploring nature trails (when he isn't injured) or watching movies/playing computer games about sci-fi and space.

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