From Milk & Honey to vine & wine

April 24, 2024

From Milk & Honey to vine & wine

We are delighted to share that Sean Burns, founder of Ahuriri institution Milk & Honey has been appointed the new manager for Smith & Sheth’s award-winning wine lounge and studio in Havelock North, Hawke’s Bay.

Sean takes up the appointment having sold his successful Napier restaurant at the end of 2023 after 15 years at the helm, bringing his extensive hospitality nous to the heart of Havelock North and Smith & Sheth’s one-of-a-kind cellar door and wine lounge experience.

He is not new to the world of fine wine, having curated an enviable wine list at Milk & Honey and previously as Director of Food and Beverage at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers. In 2002, he was the first General Manager of Hospitality for Craggy Range where he met Smith & Sheth founder and Hawke’s Bay wine industry luminary Steve Smith MW.

‘I’ve always admired Sean’s knack for putting together a wine list that showcases the best of Hawke’s Bay as well as offering an appropriate nod to our international contemporaries,’ says Smith. ‘Having worked with him for many years early in his career, I’m thrilled to welcome him to our business during this exciting new chapter and to see what he will create here.’

Tucked in the courtyard behind Porters Boutique Hotel in Havelock North, the Smith & Sheth Oenothèque and Heretaunga Wine Studio opened in 2019, offering unique experiences showcasing wines from Smith & Sheth, Pyramid Valley and Lowburn Ferry alongside some of the best from Hawke’s Bay and around the world. In 2022 it was awarded the Hawke’s Bay Wine Awards Cellar Door of the Year.

‘After a summer hiatus, I’m looking forward to getting stuck back into the world of wine,’ Burns says of his return to hospitality. ‘Steve and the team have some lofty ambitions for the business and it’s a fantastic time to be joining them on this journey. I’m also excited to reconnect with some of my old friends from Havelock North and hope to welcome many Napier locals over this side of the bridge to see a familiar face!’

Next time you’re in the area, from near or far, please pop in say hi!

Welcome Sean - we're so excited to have you in the team.

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