Michael studied a Bachelor of Oenology (Wine Science) at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia, which is now part of the University of Adelaide, graduating as dux of his year. He then returned to the family vineyard and winery in Kumeu, New Zealand, to take responsibility for wine production. Since then, he has travelled extensively through the world’s wine areas, including spending the 1983 vintage in France.
It was this experience that helped him develop a new range of wines under the Kumeu River label, which today features chardonnay, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc varieties. The label’s chardonnay wines, in particular, have enjoyed critical acclaim and success in international markets.
In 1989, Michael became New Zealand’s first member of the Institute of Masters of Wine, London. He has judged at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and several Australian capital city wine shows, as well as being Chair of Judges at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, 2012-2016 and at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, 2015-2017.
Michael has also been involved with the New Zealand Screwcap Wine Seal Initiative, of which he was Chairman in 2001-2003. He currently sits on the Wine Science Board of Studies for the University of Auckland and has been collaborating with the university in recent years on a study investigating indigenous yeast fermentations.