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Phil Parker

Guide at a Glance

  • Locations

    Auckland, North Island, New Zealand

  • Activities

    Food Tour, Lifestyle, Wine Tour

  • Guiding Experience

    16 years

  • Languages

    English, French, German, Italian

  • Awards

    TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

  • Favorite Trip

    Waiheke Island Paradise

Guide Bio

Get To Know Auckland Wine Guide Phil Parker

If you have a love of wine, then what better job than sharing that passion with other people? Phil Parker of Fine Wine Tours talks to us about how he showcases the best of the Auckland wine region to his clients.
How did you become a wine expert?

I fell in love with wine and launched my own Auckland wine tour company in September 2000. Since then I have studied wine and achieved a Pass With Merit in the international WSET level 2 Certificate in Wines and Spirits. I have also been a wine writer for 14 years. In 2008, Random House published my wine region guide to New Zealand, and I regularly attend industry tastings as a writer and enthusiast. (Hey, someone has to do it!)

How did you make the transition to becoming a tour guide? 

I ran my own solo physiotherapy practice for 22 years, but decided to make a lifestyle choice and do something less demanding (and with less paper work).  I was looking for a change and wanted to follow my interest in wine work in the wine industry. So I launched my tour business part-time back in 2000 and went full-time in early 2001.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical tour day starts with preparing tasting notes, a cheese board and cleaning my tour coach. Around 9am, I drive off to meet and greet my guests at their hotel. Then it’s off to the wine region for fine wine sampling, beautiful scenery and a great lunch, with a return around 4pm.

Have you got a certain style of guiding, or do you just run with it on the day? 

With numbers limited to six guests I’m flexible enough to cater to individual needs. But on the other hand, I have a pre-organised itinerary for each tour which I have fine-tuned over the years to ensure a memorable experience.

What is the best part of your job?

For me, it’s meeting different guests on each tour, learning about their country and culture and seeing how they enjoy our fab New Zealand wines. Over the years I have met thousands of interesting wine fans from all over the globe.

What’s the most bizarre experience you’ve had on a guided tour?!

An elderly couple booked a tour, then rang me on the day asking for a later pick-up from a city hospital where the wife had some emergency eye treatment. They kept me waiting two and a half hours, but went ahead with the tour, even though the lady was very frail. Then that night the husband rang me to say his wife had left her sunglasses in the car and could I drop them back to the cruise ship next morning. He tipped me $5 for my trouble.

Ever had any odd requests from clients?

I once had a guy who spotted a skeet shooting club in the wine region and insisted on stopping to do some clay target shooting. Luckily, I was able to accommodate that. He missed every target.

Every job has its ups and downs. Are there any aspects of your job that you don’t like or aren’t that keen on?

I truly love every aspect of running my wine tours. I don’t like the off-season when I’m not busy.

As an experienced guide yourself, can you explain to our readers what the benefits of hiring a guide are?

An experienced guide adds value because they have local insider knowledge and a track record of meeting their guests expectations.

Tell us something about New Zealand wine that only a guide would know.

Most NZ winemakers actually hate Sauvignon Blanc!

In your view, what makes a good tour guide?

First, you have to be a ‘people person’ and genuinely enjoy interacting with your guests. Plus you have to be experienced, knowledgeable, organised, and sensitive enough to read people and anticipate their needs.

And finally, have you got any tips for people who are interested in booking a guide like yourself, but aren’t too sure what to look for?

Look for someone with a good online reputation and who is experienced with a good number of years in operation.

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Hi! I’m Phil Parker – a fourth generation New Zealander who has lived in NZ’s best City – Auckland, for 35 years. I ran my own solo physiotherapy practice for 22 years, but decided to make a lifestyle choice and do something less demanding, so launched my own boutique wine tour company in September 2000. Since then I have done further study and achieved a Pass With Merit in the internationally recognised WSET level 2 Certificate in Wines and Spirits. I also combine my freelance journalism hobby with wine and have been a wine writer for 11 years.

I have the best job in the World – exploring the never ending subject of wine and meeting fantastic people from all over the globe.

I’ll also show you our beautiful rural Auckland wine-growing countryside and breath-taking coastline. My Auckland wine tours aren’t just for the serious wine enthusiast. It’s for anyone who’s keen to enjoy our world-famous wines, share our beautiful scenery – and most of all – have fun!

Looking forward to meeting you!

Phil Parker's Reviews

  • Phil
    Reply

    As seen on TripAdvisor : “Great first day in NZ” 5 of 5 starsReviewed 19 August 2014 Phil was wonderful – very personable as well as knowledgeable about wine and about New Zealand in general. He was also very flexible and allowed us to create a day that was tailored to our needs. We ate a delicious lunch, with good food and great conversation, then visited 3 different wineries. Phil also brought crackers and cheese with us everywhere, which was a really nice touch. I would recommend this to everyone! Visited August 2014

  • Phil
    Reply

    As seen on TripAdvisor :“Great Day” 4 of 5 starsReviewed 30 August 2014 via mobile Wonderful wine tour with Phil. We had a half day tour visiting 3 wineries in Kumeu, West Auckland. It was good to visit two smaller wineries plus a larger more commercial winery. It was a pity it rained the whole time and we were unable to enjoy visiting Muriwai Beach. Visited August 2014

  • Phil
    Reply

    As seen on TripAdvisor : “How to have fun on a rainy day in Auckland” 5 of 5 starsReviewed 5 September 2014 NEW It was vile weather. What to do? Well, going on a wine tour seemed the best alternative. Our tour guide Phil was cheerful, knowledgeable and friendly, full of interesting facts and ideas, and genuinely interested in us and what we thought about the wines and NZ etc. The tour was informative and perfectly organised. And the wine selection from 3 fine vineyards was wide and very very tasty. The lunch was large and very well presented – all cooked by hand not mass-produced. It’s a shame we couldn’t see more of the wonderful beach (rain was solid by that time) but the surrounding bush did look nice even in the rain. Can’t think of a better way to spend a holiday day in Auckland, whatever the weather. Visited September 2014

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