Wine journalist, author and judge, Jo Burzynska writes one of New Zealand’s most widely read weekly wine columns in her role as Wine Editor of the New Zealand Herald’s Viva magazine. She has edited a number of wine magazines, is the author of Wine Class: All you need to know about wine in New Zealand (Random House) and currently contributes to specialist publications worldwide.
Jo’s career in wine started close to two decades ago in the UK after she finished a Honours and then Masters degree in English. Her first two years were spent in the trade, running a central London wine shop and studying at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).
After going on to gain a qualification in journalism, she moved to wine writing and was shortlisted for prestigious awards such as the Glenfiddich Wine Writer of the Year and Prix du Champagne Lanson Wine Writer of the Year before the age of 30. This era saw her contribute to publications such as the Financial Times, take a permanent position at Harpers Wine & Spirit Weekly (where she became Associate Editor of its special supplements) and appointed Editor at the Drinks Buyer magazine group.
By 2004 Jo decided she would like to be based in a winegrowing nation and relocated to New Zealand and now lives in Lyttelton. Here she continues to write about wine for local publications such as the New Zealand Herald, New Zealand Winegrower and Toast magazines, as well contributing to overseas titles such as Decanter and James Halliday’s Wine Companion Magazine. As Editor, she also helped revitalise New Zealand’s only dedicated wine magazine, WineNZ.
An active and experienced wine judge, Jo regularly participates in competitions both locally and internationally. This includes her role as Chair of the Canterbury Wine Awards, as a New Zealand Panel Chair at the UK’s International Wine & Spirit Competition and at shows that have included the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show, Spiegelau International Wine Competition and Royal Easter Wine Show Awards.
Jo is an Associate of the Institute of Wines & Spirits and a Certified Educator for the WSET. She teaches WSET qualifications for the New Zealand School of Wines and Spirits, hosts her own wine classes, tastings and wine dinners and is a regular guest lecturer at The Centre for Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University. She is also one of the founders and currently, Chair of Wine Writers of New Zealand, a professional association of wine communicators committed to promoting excellence and integrity in the country’s wine writing.
Also a musician and sound artist, Jo regularly hosts wine and music matching workshops and has created a number of multisensory works involving sound and taste, which have been presented internationally. She helped establish the world’s first “wine and sound” bar, The Auricle in Christchurch, for which she curates a wine list to complement its monthly exhibition and the music playing in the space.