Meet John Dunleavy from Te Motu

Meet John Dunleavy, co-founder, chief viticulturist and winemaker at Te Motu, which overlooks the beautiful Onetangi Valley on Waiheke (my spiritual home). Te Motu is renowned for its stunning, award winning reds.

Vineyard Manager & Winemaker, and general fixer of broken things.

Run the vineyard team and oversee the winemaking.

Number of years in the wine industry
25 years at TeMotu vineyard.

As a young man I used to transport the wine selected for the Air NZ wine competition to ‘The Chateau at Ruapehu’; on my own with a truck full of wine – tempting!!

My father, Terry was the Chief Executive of the NZ Wine Institute in those days.

First Job
Paper boy in Wellington; delivering from the start of the Terrace up to Salamanca Road. By the time I finished I would be lining up for the bus with the aftermath of the 6 o’clock swill – not a pretty sight for a young boy.

If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
I would have to go for a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Cote de Nuits, Romanee- Conti.

What would you do if you weren’t a winemaker?
A designer and builder of furniture.

Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
To help develop the family business – fate had a hand in it. While awaiting surgery to reconnect three fingers on my left hand, my father and brother made the decision to proceed with the establishment of the vineyard on Waiheke, and I was to oversee it.

te motu 1

Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
It’s a toss-up between Rack of Lamb with Cabernet based Bordeaux and ‘Maka Crabs’; succulent crayfish off the coast of Makorori, Gisborne with a gutsy Gizzy Chardonnay.

Share a fact about you that only a few know
I was born in Samoa and arrived in NZ aboard a TEAL flying boat.

Hidden gems and favourite spots in your region
Sitting off Owhiti Bay in a boat fishing with my mates.

Things you still want to do
Finish painting the house, and more travelling – the South Island, Spain, Portugal, Italy for a start.

Last book read
Ken Follett – the Century Trilogy. If these were texts when I was at school I would have enjoyed History. Studying the ‘Origins of the First World War’ etc… was so boring then.
Hmmm then again, the sex scenes would have been a distraction for adolescent boys.

Advice on buying wine
Don’t be afraid to try something new, and every once in a while splash out, blow the budget, memories last a long time.

Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with
Billy Connolly, what a laugh that would be.

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