Michael Bancks was born in Auckland and during his school days got a taste for the hospitality industry working in cafés on the North Shore. He studied for a Bachelor of Health Sciences (at Auckland University) and worked part time at a leading Auckland waterfront restaurant. Through the restaurant he met Corbans Wine & Food Challenge judge Prue Barton. Work at Vinnie’s and Halo followed before Prue Barton offered him a job at Terrôir at Craggy Range. Meanwhile Bancks pursued his sommelier studies earning a scholarship enabling him to study through the various levels of certification as part of his ambition of becoming a Master Sommelier in the future. He was appointed Restaurant Manager at Terrôir in 2004 and in 2008 Bancks was voted New Zealand Sommelier of the Year at the New Zealand Culinary Fare. The following year was one of only five students to pass the Advanced Sommelier examination. He was for two years group sommelier for Cape Kidnappers, Kauri Cliffs and Queenstown’s Matakauri Lodge resorts. In 2012 he moved to France and the three Michelin Star restaurant of Michel Guerard at Les Prés d’Eugénie. Bancks returned to New Zealand with his wife and two daughters in 2015 to the role of customer experience manager at Craggy Range Winery in Hawke’s Bay.
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