John Buck, Hall of Fame Recipient 2018

The recipient of the 2018 Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Hall of Fame was John Buck.  Given in recognition of Buck’s leadership roles in both the Hawke’s Bay Wine sector and the Hawke’s Bay community.


John Buck has made notable contributions to the New Zealand wine industry. His Te Mata Estate has been the standard bearer for New Zealand. “In Coleraine, he has produced, year after year, a wine that brings international acclaim both to Te Mata and the New Zealand industry.”


Mr Buck said that New Zealand wine had been so good to him. “It has given me great friends, a business that two sons have followed me into, a role on the world stage of fine wine, and the challenge of competing with the best.”


Since his earliest vintage in 1982, Te Mata Estate has been recognised as one of New Zealand’s greatest wine producers and its flagship wine, Coleraine, as one of New Zealand’s greatest red wines. Sam Kim of The Dominion Post called Coleraine “the greatest New Zealand wine ever made.”

Mr Buck’s contribution to the New Zealand wine industry extends well beyond his role at Te Mata Estate. He helped with the founding and development of Hawke’s Bay Vintners from its very early days (now Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers), when there were only seven wineries in Hawke’s Bay, and was its chairman in the 1980s.

In 1991, Mr Buck established the Hawke’s Bay Charity Wine Auction, which continues today more than 20 years on, having raised more than $2 million for Hawke’s Bay’s Cranford Hospice and helped bind the Hawke’s Bay’s wine industry to its local community.

He represented the Hawke’s Bay on the board of the New Zealand Wine Institute through the late 1980s and then, from 1991 to 1996, was chairman of the New Zealand Wine Institute. This was a period of great change in New Zealand wine and Mr Buck instigated and directed many initiatives that shaped the New Zealand industry, including an export strategy vision with a target of $100 million exports by the year 2000. Many in the industry thought this was a fantasy – the target was achieved a year ahead of schedule.

Mr Buck represented the New Zealand wine industry at international trade negotiations – in particular with the European Union, gaining the market access New Zealand wine enjoys today.

He was also instrumental in major reforms regarding the RMA and how it impacted on future wine industry growth. He has made numerous submissions to government and public hearings on licensing policies and changes since 1974.

This latest award has come at the end of the New Zealand phase of Te Mata Estate’s Showcase 2012 wine release tour, launching Coleraine ’10.

The Hall of Fame award follows Mr Buck’s previous wine industry awards:

  • 1990 Commemoration Medal for Services to New Zealand
  • 1996 OBE for Services to the Wine Industry
  • 1999 Fellowship of the Wine Institute of New Zealand
  • 2001 Honorary Doctorate from Lincoln University
  • 2012 New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame
John Buck
Photo : John Buck

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