Organic Wine - Dispel the Myths & Embrace the Future

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


This conversation coincided with New Zealand Organic Wine Week and examined how sustainability, organics, biodynamics and natural wine all exist together. We take a bird's eye view of the unique development of winegrowing in New Zealand 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 place.


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 five 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 - Malaysian-born Chinese, Stephen Wong MW moved from Borneo to Singapore and finally to New Zealand to read Law. After completing his Barrister exams, he moved into wine, first working as a sommelier before moving into consulting. He is very happy he made that move.

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