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Tony fell into winemaking after running out of cash following a long hot summer at Makorori Beach in Gisborne lazing in the surf and hanging in bars.
His first vintage in 1981 was at Corbans winery in Gisborne. In 1982 he landed a vintage job at Vidals in Hawkes Bay where he met Richard Brimer. Tony and Richard enjoyed three vintages together at Vidals before Tony committed to studying for a winemaking degree in Australia, and Richard continued to hone his photography skills.
Tony returned to Hawkes Bay to a vineyard job with the Mason family and in 1986, formed Sacred Hill Wines with Mark and David Mason. After various sojourns into other wine regions such as Central Otago and Martinborough, Tony settled back into Sacred Hill and raised 4 kids with his wife and life partner Karryn.