Stephen Wong MW
Stephen Wong is New Zealand’s newest Master of Wine. Malaysian-born Chinese, he moved from Borneo to Singapore and finally to New Zealand to read Law at the University of Otago. While studying, he worked part time in cafés and as a club DJ where he was first exposed to NZ wine. Moving to Central Otago in 2000, his journey into wine progressed rapidly through vineyard work and hospitality. Shortly after qualifying as a Barrister, he picked up his first fledgling sommelier role in Wellington, learning on the job. Fast forward seven years and Stephen had sidestepped into a consulting role, assisting restaurants and hotels across New Zealand and Singapore with their wine programs via his Wellington-based wine education and support business, Wine Sentience. Over the past 15 years, he’s been quietly putting his stamp behind the scenes on Wellington’s wine lists. Besides judging in wine shows in NZ and Australia, Stephen teaches Master of Wine hopefuls in the IMW Australasian Educational Seminar, is a founding member of the national Sommelier’s association and co-founder of Budburst NZ. Training the wine service professionals of the future is one of Stephen’s main drivers, but wine communication full-stop is his true love and the minute you get him started on natural wine? Well sit back and get comfy because he’s one of the champions of that growing trend of goodness!