He and his brother John, also a sommelier, established a new online retail store - By the Bottle - earlier this year, selling organic, natural, biodynamic and sustainably-produced beverages. "We're supporting the small guys who are pushing to improve, innovate and take the industry in a positive direction," he says.
The Connel brothers, along with business partner Ashley Roberts, are part of the recent wave of Covid returnees to New Zealand. They have worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, wineries and wine businesses in London, New York, Napa Valley, and Melbourne. "We think there's still a bit of stigma around organic wines," says Pete. "That perhaps people worry they're substituting quality or taste for principles. But some of New Zealand's, and indeed the world's grested wines, come off organic vineyards."
At the moment few retailers are focused on organics or biodynamics, he says. "But we think that's the future of our industry."