Jo Gear

Winemaker for Hawkesbridge Estate

“I love making good wine. What's good wine? It’s good for the grower, good for the winery, true to the brand and good to drink!”

- Jo Gear

Winemaking History

Watching Dad making guava wine in the basement when I was a kid may or may not have inspired me to make wine. Mum reckons that tasting Dad's guava wine would have put me right off! Either way, after working in trade marketing at Corbans and doing a stint as a cellar hand at Longridge Winery, I was prompted to go to Lincoln University to study winemaking. I spent a number of years at Matua and was promoted to assistant winemaker. During that time, I took part in a vintage in the Napa Valley. After the 2005 harvest, I joined New Zealand Wine Society and happily learn more and more each vintage.

Jo's favourite wine moment

I get to savour my favourite wine moment several times every vintage. Watching a harvester picking a block and knowing that the harvest date is absolutely bang on, the fruit is perfect, and the best is yet to come is a moment that will never lose its magic for me.

Jo's winemaking philosophy

  • Purity of fruit – start with the cleanest, freshest and most varietally expressive you can.


  • Expression of place – a great wine has to speak of where it's grown, how it was grown and who grew it.


  • Sustainability – for everyone involved: the grower, the winery, the brand, the selling team, the courier driver, the consumer.

Winery Background

The Hawkesbridge Vineyard, on Marlborough's Hawkesbury Road, has been behind many award-winning wines over the years. In fact it's a highly decorated brand with the Méthodes setting the Marlborough bar nationally and internationally.

Hawkesbridge bottles Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and sparkling wine and has won numerous Trophies, 5-star Cuisine ratings and Gold medals.

The 2007 vintage Méthode (released in 2009) was named the best bubbly in the Southern Hemisphere when it took the Trophy at the Five Nations Wine Challenge.

And with Jo at the Hawkesbridge helm, the success continues.