Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Friday drinks with Mike Bann of Rapaura Springs

Mike Bann has been the winemaker for Rapaura Springs in Marlborough since 2012 and has also made wine in Australia and Bordeaux.

When were you bitten by the wine bug?

I grew up in the retail liquor industry and my parents owned successful retail stores in New South Wales, Australia. Wine was a big focus for them. I became interested through listening and tasting wines with my parents over dinner, with sales reps and meeting some influential Australian winemakers.  I wanted to be a vet but didn’t have the grades or commitment.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Good food, wine and friends.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I spend too many hours at work and not enough time having fun with my kids.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Entitlement and arrogance.

Which living person do you most admire?

There are so many people in my life that I admire for various reasons, I can't name just one.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I tend not to spend too much money on things for myself but apart from wine, I do enjoy single malt whisky and good gin.

When and where were you happiest?

I have very happy memories of past and present friends and acquaintances, sharing good food, wine and conversation.  

Which talent would you most like to have?

Not a talent as such, but I would love to be able to fly. To cruise the skies and enjoy the magnificence of the world from above.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I hate confrontation so probably to stand up for myself more.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being a parent. I have three lovely children, each one growing into a very different person.

Where would you most like to live?

I haven’t travelled enough to make an educated decision yet.

What is your most treasured possession?

My motorcycle. My wife called this purchase a midlife crisis. It was.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My mum and my wife. Both have raised families whilst working full time jobs. I take my hat off to most mothers, as raising a family isn’t easy and certainly with current fiscal pressures, it isn’t getting any easier.

If you were to die and could come back as a person or animal, who or what would it be?

If it was possible to enter the world with more life experience and avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made, it would be helpful. If I had to choose though, my dogs have a pretty easy life.