Friday interview… wine is a personal experience, says Justin Dry

Justin Dry on why it’s easy for him to stay inspired every day…


What’s your favourite part of the day?

JD: Early arvo because that’s when late lunches (with awesome vino of course) happen.


What inspires you each morning?

JD: I’m a start up guy, so I love creating and growing early start businesses. And at Vinomofo, I head up global expansion so I get the opportunity to do this over and over again as we launch in each new market. Add to this the fact wine is my other main passion and you’ll understand why it’s so easy for me to stay inspired.

What trends do you see emerging with wine today?

JD: It’s no secret that conscious consumerism is a big one these days, so I think we’ll see continued growth with natural, organic, biodynamic and minimal interview wines. This is an area that we’ll be catering for more and more in 2018.

People are also becoming much more adventurous with their wine choices so we’ll see winemakers having more fun with it. They’ll have the freedom to play around with modern takes on traditional styles. New Zealand is in a great position to be one of the leaders in this market.

How has your wine drinking changed over the years?

JD: As most people do, I started with wine brands that I knew or had heard about but as I got more involved, I started buying more interesting small batch wines with great stories and love behind them.

One of my early and most memorable experiences was when I turned 18 and asked my parents to buy me a bottle of Penfold’s Grange from my birth year rather than throw me a party. it changed my world. The whole experience and the way it evolved over the night, blew my mind and was part of the reason I got so hooked on wine.

Nowadays I go looking for surprises, the wines that I don’t know much about. Interesting, potentially weird and a little bit challenging, hopefully small batch but definitely made by real people who love what they do. In wine bars I’ll often leave it in the hands of the somm’ to choose for me with absolute freedom to go weird and wonderful so I don’t stay within my usual wine styles.

What’s your favourite wine and music match or wine and food match?

JD: Champagne and anything basically…

What’s your favourite wine?

JD: So many it’s impossible to choose but I do love aged Barolo and white burgundy, as most wine nerds do. However, to me, it’s so music more than just the wine, it’s the whole experience. Who you are drinking it with and where. What’s being discussed. How connected you are to the experience and the people. Oh and food, always food.

When did you decide to dive in and work with wine?

JD: Wine is in my DNA – my ancestors were some of the very first people to plant vines in the Barossa Valley. Throughout my childhood I was always surrounded by wine; one of my uncles is a well known viticulturist, so he would challenge me to blind tastings as a kid trying to get me pick what region, variety and vintage each wine was. He would guide me through the different characteristics I should be looking for well before I was the legal drinking age. So for me it was always going to be. For a while there I questioned whether it was a career or simply a passion, but after leaving it for about 5 years in my 20’s to work as a stockbroker and then property developer, I realised my heart is in wine. After a few pivots, we finally landed on a winner with Vinomofo. 

What makes wine rewarding?


JD: Wine is such a personal experience; what appeals to me is very different to the next person and that’s cool. It’s also a connector.

When I think of the best moments in my life, wine has always been there, from backpacking through South America drinking amazing Argentinean Malbec, through to drinking all of the French rosé while on a recent holiday for my 40th to Bora Bora. It’s got this unique power to connect people, place and moments together; it’s a beautiful thing and I’m completely in love with it.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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