contact us

John Barker Law
+64 21 798 353
PO Box 224
Shortland Street
Auckland 1010
New Zealand

New Zealand

+64 (0)21 798 353

John Barker Law is a boutique firm offering strategic legal and policy expertise to the food and beverage sector with a special emphasis on wine and other alcoholic beverages.

Combining specialised legal skills with extensive experience in government and industry, John Barker Law delivers strategic and outcome-focussed advice to clear the regulatory pathway from production through to the global market. 



John Barker is the Principal of John Barker Law. He qualified as a lawyer in 1993. After several years working in banking and finance litigation for a major New Zealand law firm, John turned his legal focus towards food and beverage - specializing particularly in the wine industry. 

John has accrued more than 20 years’ experience in the international food and beverage sector specializing in law and policy roles within private legal practice, government and industry organisations. For 10 years, he was General Counsel and General Manager Advocacy and Trade for New Zealand Winegrowers, the national wine industry association. In that role he has led the wine industry’s involvement in such decisive policy developments as the enactment and implementation of the Wine Act 2003 and the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006. Prior to that, he worked for the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and Freehills in Australia in the areas of wine law, trade marks and anti-counterfeiting.

John’s prize-winning doctoral thesis dealt with the international regulation of the wine industry. He continues to be engaged with teaching and research having convened a Wine Law LLM course at the University of Auckland and been an annual guest lecturer for the Master of Business and Science in Vineyard and Winery Management at Bordeaux Sciences Agro. He is a regular speaker at conferences and has contributed to numerous publications including the text Global Wine Regulation and the 4th edition of the world-renowned Oxford Companion to Wine 4th Ed.  

John has held numerous national and international leadership roles including President of the Law and Economy Commission of the OIV, Industry Chair of the World Wine Trade Group and the APEC Wine Regulators’ Forum, Executive Officer of the New Zealand Grape Growers Council and the Wine Institute of New Zealand and Chair of The Tomorrow Project Inc. He was appointed a Chevalier de l’Ordre de Mérite Agricole by the Republic of France for his role in the OIV.


Dr John Barker was New Zealand's candidate for the role of Director General of the Organisation International de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV) in 2018. He was the first ever candidate from a ‘new world’ country in the OIV’s history.

Dr Barker’s vision was to reinforce the OIV’s position as the trusted vine and wine reference body for a rapidly changing world. The Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern, released a video message endorsing Dr John Barker's candidacy for the role of OIV Director General. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO.

Over the course of the campaign Dr Barker personally visited 30 OIV member states and had the opportunity to talk first hand with grape and wine sector officials, representative bodies and private business in every country to develop an unparalleled understanding of the global needs and challenges of the sector. The epic campaign included a reception at the prestigious Cercle de l’Union Interalliee in Paris’s rue du Faubourg St-Honore featuring Aotearoa-New Zealand cultural group Ngati Ranana and legendary wine writer Jancis Robinson MW.

The very strong support for Dr Barker’s candidacy among the OIV membership meant that the election process went to an unprecedented 9 rounds of voting between two candidates over a period of more than 5 months. While at the end of this process he was not the elected candidate, Dr Barker succeeded in giving a voice to those who wished to see the OIV move forward as an effective, inclusive and truly international reference for the vine and wine sector. He highlighted many of the important issues to be addressed and directions to be followed by the OIV now and in the future.