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His first vintage in 1981 was at Corbans winery in Gisborne followed by a winter ski season at Mt Hutt. In 1982 he landed a vintage job at Vidals in Hawkes Bay where he met Richard Brimer. Tony and Richard enjoyed three vintages together at Vidals before Tony committed to studying for a winemaking degree in Australia, and Richard continued to hone his photography skills.
After a year in Australia working in a larger winery, Tony returned to Hawkes Bay to a vineyard job with the Mason family and in 1986, formed Sacred Hill Wines with Mark and David Mason. After various sojourns into other wine regions such as Central Otago and Martinborough, Tony settled back into Sacred Hill and raised 4 kids with his wife and life partner Karryn.
Tony owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Mason family for the love, tolerance and support they have shown him at every turn over many years.