Meet Australia’s most loveable winemaking star

Last month we had the pleasure of hosting Australia’s most lovable winemaker, John Quarisa – or Johnny Q as he’s known.

He was holding a special tasting for us at our HQ to show us three fantastic wines that we’re able to give you exclusive access to.

And they don’t just shake your hand and say “g’day”. They wrap you in a big, cuddly bear hug too! Like the best Aussie reds, they match the personality of their winemaker – and yet you will also get change from £10.

“My head’s not big enough for a £30 wine. I’m a simple country bumpkin kind of a guy. I want a wine people can taste and enjoy – and won’t cost an arm and a leg.”

Johnny Q

Of course, he is anything but a country bumpkin. For over 20 years, he worked long hours at some of Australia’s best wineries, including McWilliam’s, Casella and Nugan Estate. He always dreamed of setting up on his own – but kept putting it off, getting grumpier year by year.

Finally wife Josephine ‘spat the dummy’ (as they say in Oz) and told him to “get a ******* move on!” … so he did.

Johnny Q and his wife Josephine

Now he works even longer hours – at his own winery. And the awards are rolling in, thanks to the fact that Johnny Q is happy to pay a bit more for the best fruit from the best spots. “Any wine I put my name to MUST over deliver,” he says. And they do.

If you like Aussie reds, you’ll love these. Shot In The Dark is already a favourite, while The Great Bonza and Q Malbec are new. Johnny Q had flown from Australia specifically to show us these wines because he wanted only a proper, independently run, family wine merchant to stock them.

Read about all three below … you can buy them individually or take advantage of their only UK outing in the showcase.

The Great Bonza

Hand on heart, we can call this the Oz red debut of the year. Johnny Q’s triple-Gold Shiraz Cabernet is rippling with smooth, rich, fruit-packed flavour.

And it could not be better named. After all, Bonza is an Australian expression that describes the feeling that spreads through the body before you exclaim “hurray!”

Johnny Q in the vineyard

Well, it certainly had all of us cheering here. We think this is a masterpiece from Johnny Q. What’s more, the experts agree.

Just look at the medals. First, DOUBLE Gold for quality and value at the Far East’s biggest wine competition (over 10,000 contenders from 35 countries).

Then, Gold at New Zealand’s most influential show and 93 points apiece from top critics Raymond Chan and Wine Orbit’s Sam Kim who called it “instantly appealing … excellent”.

Enough said. Tuck into The Great Bonza – just £7.99!

Shot in the Dark

When ripened by the Aussie sunshine, cassis-laden Cabernet and rich, spicy Shiraz make an ideal partnership.

Shot In The Dark is a perfect example and was the first exclusive we did from Johnny Q’s winery. Easy going, but with plenty of substance, it’s as good sipped solo as it is with food. It was quick to impress here, as the many 5-star online reviews show. “One of the best – lovely, smooth, fruity” … “Had to refrain from opening another bottle” … “Exceptional”.

Q Malbec

“Rammed with flavour” – that was the enthusiastic recommendation from our man on the ground Down Under. He’d just secured us the first UK shipment of Johnny Q’s Malbec. As with all Johnny Q’s wines, Q Malbec coaxes every possible drop of flavour from the grape that’s famously a great match with red meats. It’s rich, lush and dark fruited, with mouthfuls of mulberry and red cherries. And it’s already charmed the critics, winning a Gold and a 95-point score.

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Laithwaite's Wine

About Laithwaite's Wine

We’re wine nuts, not wine snobs. We’ve been exploring the world on a mission to find great wine for the last 50 years. If you love adventure as much as we do, you belong with us. We know our winegrowers like family – and in some cases they actually are. Expect to hear from these legends of the soil, see behind the scenes access into vineyards and wineries and get news on fresh finds from our travels on this page. Drink responsibly. Visit for further health information. You must be aged 18 or over to follow.

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  1. Pingback: Meet Australia's most loveable winemaking star - Som2ny Network

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