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Stephen is the person behind our wine philosopy, curation & technology

So who is Stephen?

When it comes to wine, Stephen Wong MW really knows his onions.

He received his Master of Wine, one of the most highly regarded qualifications in the industry, six years ago, becoming one of only 419 others in the world to earn this designation - and one of a much smaller number to earn it before the age of 40.

Over the last 20 years, he has devoted his tasting talents, selectorial skills and big brain to developing a revolutionary new system for organizing wine by studying how people’s tastes intersect with the attributes of different wines. Luckily for you, that system is now at the heart of Stompy’s unique ‘taste map’ technology.

One of only 419 Masters of Wine in the world.

Visit Stephen's MW credentials

His journey to becoming one of top global minds in wine today didn’t start in the classroom. He sharpened his skills in the vineyards of Central Otago and for close to a decade as a sommelier at some of the country’s top restaurants. It was there that he became interested in the pioneers who were embracing more sustainable practices and exploring the possibilities of natural wine.

Stephen moved into consulting where he helped shape cutting-edge wine programs for restaurants and hotels from New Zealand to Singapore, accumulating over a dozen international wine list awards along the way. He pioneered the program for New Zealand’s first natural wine bar 12 years ago, and went on to develop natural wine lists at many other top establishments. He also co-founded the Budburst natural wine festival and the new-wave Nouvelle wine festival.

Expert in fine wine to natural wine.

While natural wine is a passion, he’s certainly not a one trick oenophilic overachiever. Stephen also regularly runs in­-depth tastings and masterclasses on traditional fine wines as part of his New Zealand wine consulting business and has presented at vintage assessment tastings of wines from Germany, New Zealand, Rhône, Burgundy and Bordeaux.

After receiving his Master of Wine in 2016, he dedicated himself to improving that organization, too. He has sat on the Education Committee since passing and currently runs the Institute's Assignment Marking Scheme, after a four year stint co-coordinating the Australasian Education Seminar. In 2020, he took the co-chair role of the Institute’s Diversity, Inclusion and Transformation Committee.

Stephen is always looking to share his vast knowledge of wine but his innovative spirit means he’s also looking to push wine forward. He provides education for NZ Winegrowers, the national industry group, and has co-presented the organization's international sommelier residential, the Sommit Scholarship Programme. At tertiary level, he is the wine lecturer for Le Cordon Bleu NZ's Bachelor degree in Culinary Arts and Business. He also regularly judges at wine shows and speaks at wine conferences across New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and China.

Heads the Institute's Assignment Marking Scheme

The Institute of Masters of Wine


The Institute of Masters of Wine

Co-chair of Diversity, Inclusion and Transformation Committee

The Institute of Masters of Wine

Wine Lecturer

Le Cordon Bleu Bachelor Degree in Culinary Arts & Business