Pictured from left to right: Jane Kelsbie MLA, Toni Tate, Franklin Tate, Heather Tate, Olivia Tate, Minister Don Punch MLA

John Tate was posthumously awarded a Wines of Western Australia Life Membership at the end of year industry sundowner on Tuesday 28 November at Steve’s Hotel Nedlands. The award was presented to John’s son, Franklin Tate, by Minister for Regional Development Hon Don Punch.

The Life Membership award recognises the significant contribution by an individual to the development of the WA wine industry at state and regional level.

With business partner John Evans, John started Evans and Tate in 1971, building it into one of the largest and most successful privately owned wine brands in WA. John Tate was actively involved in many aspects of the WA wine industry , volunteering his time to numerous committees including the Royal Perth Wine Show and the Wine Industry Association of WA.

Previous recipients of a life Membership award include: Denis and Tricia Horgan (Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River); Dorham Mann OAM (Dept. of Agriculture WA, Sandalford Swan Valley, Mann Winery Swan Valley); Tony Smith (Plantagenet Great Southern); Robert Bowen (Plantagenet, Houghtons, Willow Bridge Geographe).

John Tate, AM

18.8.1930 – 11.8.2021

John Tate was born on the 18th of August 1930, grew up in Perth, Western Australia.

Originally training as an accountant, one of John’s early jobs would be where he would meet John Evans. In 1952 John Tate and John Evans would start their first business venture together, Raffles Paints. Before wine there was paint.

In 1967 John Tate, while still running Raffles, decided to start an imported wine store, in North Fremantle, with some other friends. In retrospect we might say was a steppingstone to something bigger. Not long after, along with John Evans, during a somewhat decadent long lunch, they decided if they could drink it, they could make it, and so began the journey of Evans & Tate. Starting in 1971 in Bakers Hill, the two brought both of their families together, and learnt how to make wine as they did it, and most importantly had fun.

In 1974, along with other founding families, they made the transition to Margaret River as pioneers of the region. Come 1976 when they released their first wine, they perfectly summed up the experience for them: “we only made one wine, but what a wine”. In 1983, he and John Evans, decided it was time to split the businesses, as John Tate took over Evans & Tate, and John Evans took over Raffles Paints, but despite not seeing each other every day, and enjoying their daily cigars, they never stopped being life-long friends. Eventually John took a step back from the wine industry in 1992, after being diagnosed and subsequently undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. Later in remission he and Toni officially retired from Evans & Tate in 1997.

Another life passion was volunteering. He established the beefsteak and burgundy club in the 1950’s. He also helped transform the Royal Perth Wine Show, starting out as a judge in 1974, then becoming the Chairperson of Show, supporting the growth of fine wine production in the wine industry of Western Australia. He was the third President of the Wine Industry Association of Western Australia serving from 1990-91. He was a counsellor for the Western Australian Royal Agricultural Society from 1984 – 1990. In the broader community, John was on the Nedlands City council from 1974-1977 and the Sir Charles Gardner hospital board,  eventually becoming the Chairperson of the board.

From all his volunteering his efforts were greatly acknowledged as he was awarded an order of Australia in 1992, and later that year won the Jack Mann award, as it was the ultimate recognition for the wine industry for its time, and in 2019 he alongside John Evans won a lifetime achievement award from the Margaret River Wine association. This was an especially important award, as it highlighted the role, they both played in wine industry in Margaret River and would be the last opportunity for them to win the award together before John Evans passed in 2020 and shortly followed by John Tate himself in 2021.