Wineproof25 – a rationale

During my 18 years as publisher and editor of WineNZ Magazine I had concerns that wine assessments published in New Zealand often lacked the clarity and transparency that should have accompanied them.

There is no doubt that many, and indeed most reviews, are honest and forthright in their opinions and nearly all are penned by experienced judges. However there are also numerous instances when one could question the circumstances and the processes under which they were written and for which no information is given in the tasting note.

See here for more detailed concerns….

We think wine consumers deserve wine reviews that are totally professional and transparent in their processes. So that’s what Wineproof25 gives you.

It was also my concern that many reviews seemed to concentrate on the more expensive wines which had little relevance to the vast number of consumers looking for good assessments of wines they might actually purchase.

As a result, at Wineproof25, we offer regular and rigorous reviews of wines below the $25 price point in a manner that is totally open and transparent.

We make no charge to you for these.

Indeed Wineproof25 takes no revenue from the wine industry except for the charges made for entries to our tastings. We will accept no wine based advertising.

Martin Gillion – proprietor Wineproof25

We believe that reviews of any sort, should not only be fair and honest, they should be seen to be so!

Meet the Wineproof25 Team

Martin Gillion

Proprietor of Wineproof25

As publisher of this website my experience relies on 18 years as the publisher and editor of WineNZ magazine, New Zealand’s only wine dedicated magazine.

I relinquished the publication in 2014.

During my time as editor and publisher I was concerned at the lack of transparency in the wine media, and was determined to see if the consumer could be provided with advice that is not only transparent and honest, but which was also related to the wines that were bought by the greatest majority of them.


To be sure, as an editor and publisher I received the sorts of patronage of which I am now critical, but that has given me impetus to try to devise a system that can stand on its own without such influence.

Colin Ford

Wine Judge

Colin Ford is a 30-year veteran of the wine trade. Back in the 1980’s he began work in hospitality before going  to work for New Zealand’s first wine distributors.

After travelling abroad visiting and working vintage with some of the world’s most respected wine producers, Colin returned to New Zealand. Through the 1990s he worked for a leading wine merchant while also participating in the study program for the Institute of Masters of Wine and developing his writing and tasting skills to a high degree.

After a spell helping to establish a successful importer of exclusively New Zealand wines, near San Francisco, he again returned to New Zealand and established Winework Solutions in 2000.

Colin has judged at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, the New Zealand International Wine Show and the New Zealand Hospitality Championships. He has been a tasting panel member for WineNZ and Dish magazines and publishes a blog at

Ben Dugdale

Wine Judge

With early hands on experience at the Auckland wineries of both Collards and Coopers Creek, Ben undertook further experience in retail before  spending the 1992 vintage in France at Chateau De La Jaubertie in Bergerac.

On return to New Zealand Ben worked with the legendry Neil McCallum at Dry River in Martinborough after which he took an appointment as chief Winemaker for the fledgling Matakana Estate nestled on a north facing slope between Warkworth and Matakana Village just north of Auckland.

A move even further north in 2004 saw him appointed Chief Winemaker at Karikari Estate, a bold venture that was the first in the Far North to make a large commercial viticultural commitment to the area. Ben’s appointment saw the company win numerous awards and accolades over the next eight years.

Ben has been involved in Wine Show judging from 2001 until 2012 and has judged at The Air New Zealand Wine Awards, The Liquorland Top 100, and The New Zealand International Wine Show.

These days Ben spends more time with his family in Warkworth and undertakes some remedial winemaking work for a few winemaking clients which he says “is really just a case of helping out old friends”.