Our People


Jo Lewis - Director

I was brought up in the south of the South Island in the Catlins where my father and mother grew sheep and cows on a beautiful property overlooking the coast.  Although only three hours’ drive from Central Otago, our green rolling hills and lush pasture which needed no irrigation, could not have been more different from the arid, harsh landscape of Central Otago and from Cromwell which is the furthest from the sea of any location in New Zealand.

I studied History and Education at Otago University which led me into a teaching career.  After a few years working in South Otago and in England, I won a sole-charge teaching position in a little place on the way to the West Coast called Makarora and it was there serendipity led me to a life-style property in Cromwell, a far cry from my background of beef and sheep farming in South Otago.  Vineyard development was accelerating at a rapid rate in Central Otago and I saw the potential for this property to follow the same path at some stage in the future.

After taking time out from teaching to travel overseas, I came back to Cromwell jobless. I applied for a local position at a time when teaching jobs were scarce and was turned down.  However a couple of days later I saw an advertisement in the supermarket window for a two-year viticulture diploma at the Otago Polytechnic. This was the perfect solution for gaining the knowledge needed to develop a vineyard and so I jumped on it. 

Since planting the vineyard in 2003, I have lived in Spain for two years where I discovered Spanish wine and widened my palate considerably!  After arriving home to the vineyard, I also completed my Intermediate and Advanced Wines and Spirits Education Trust London based exams, and started an International wine-tasting group.

My present project is again challenging me in new areas as I develop the Serendipity Brand and begin marketing Serendipity wine. 

Email: jo@serendipityvineyard.co.nz