Leadership in Wine #18 - Bob Campbell MW

  • Alexis Robin

Bob is a well-known character in the New Zealand wine industry primarily as a wine educator, wine writer and a public speaker. He is New Zealand editor for Gourmet Traveller Wine, and is wine editor for Taste magazine, and the Air New Zealand in-flight magazine “Kia Ora”. 

Bob was awarded the title Columnist of the Year (Home & Food section) at the Magazine Publishers Association (MPA) Awards in 2006 and Columnist of the Year (Home & Food Section) again in 2008. He was the inaugural recipient of the Sir George Fistonich medal in recognition for services to wine and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Bob has served as chairman of judges at the NZ Wine Society Royal Easter Wine Show for 21 years and is currently chairman of judges at the NZ International Wine Show and chairman of the New Zealand section of the London-based Decanter World Wine Awards. Bob was most recently honoured as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2019 for his services to the New Zealand wine industry.


How do you define leadership?

Excelling in a particular field and providing inspiration to others.


What are the main challenges of being a leader in the wine industry today?

The challenges of being a leading wine critic include keeping up with trends in wine making and marketing and drawing on experience to predict what might happen in the future. Also reaching a broad audience.


What are your major breakthroughs in your career to become the leader you are now?

Getting a job in the wine industry in 1973. Writing my first wine column for Decanter magazine in 1977. Touring the wine regions of the US and Europe for 10 months in 1977. Judging at my first wine competition in 1979. Opening a wine school in 1986. Passing my Master of Wine exam in 1990.


If you were starting your career in 2019 in the wine industry, what advice would you give to yourself to become successful and content?

Taste as many wines as possible and record tasting notes. Draw on others for inspiration. Travel as much as possible.

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