Hailing from a diverse cultural melting pot – New Guinean, Danish, Chinese and Melanesia – and like her adventurous ancestors, June O’Brien likes to live life to the full. In her early years, she lived in Port Douglas, Townsville, and Brisbane while even dipping her toe in the water along the Whitsunday Islands as well as having spent time in some of the world’s greatest wine regions when living in San Francisco, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. But, June is now proud to call Geelong her home.
Offering intimate, personalised, curated tours throughout our very own backyard to award-winning wineries, micro-brewers, distilleries and artisan producers means that a day spent with June is one that will have you coming back for more each time.
June’s passions are cooking and food culture, exploring, trying and discovering new things, travelling and socialising and when you combine all of those passions, you get the footprint June is leaving on the world in the shape of Epic Taste Experiences.
In your own words, what is Epic Taste Experiences?
Epic Taste Experiences offers small personalised, curated tours to our award-winning wineries, micro-brewers, distilleries and artisan producers around Greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and the Moorabool Valley.
Tell us the story – your story, of how you came to be in business running Epic Taste Experiences + how long have you been up + running for?
I don’t think I would have started the business if we lived in Melbourne. Moving to Geelong has been one of the best moves for our family.
Meeting local successful businesswomen like Amanda Wilkens, Lisa Sweeny and Lyndsay Sharp who are very supportive of women in businesses, plus a very understanding husband who has encouraged me to back myself has certainly helped me to start Epic Taste Experiences.
Geelong is a very supportive and creative community, and I’ve met so many entrepreneurs and amazing successful local businesswomen who have backed themselves to start their businesses that it’s given me the courage to back myself and to start Epic Taste Experiences.
2020 was a year of reflection and here we are!
Everybody has something they love, what do you love about your job?
I love discovering little artisan producers and hearing their stories or discovering really cool foodie venues and then sharing them with everyone.
What was your “lightbulb moment”? The moment you realised that Epic Taste Experiences was going to be your footprint on the world?
I wouldn’t say there was a particular “lightbulb moment”. I love to discover new experiences and when I do, I also like to share them so once I started to explore the local region and released just how much is on offer here, then starting Epic Taste Experiences seemed like a good way for me to achieve that.
There’s a lot of competition out there for the industry that your business is in! What sets you apart from the next business that is offering food and drink tours around our backyard of Greater Geelong and the Surf Coast regions?
It’s really the personal touches.
The business is called Epic Taste Experiences because we want to provide more than a food and wine tour. The way we achieve that is to meet with the producers, hear their stories and understand what they are truly about. This provides a more memorable ‘experience’ that my clients and producers really appreciate.
What are some of the main reasons you find people wanting to book tours with you?
We make it easy for our guests to book because we are local and have both the local knowledge and the local connections. our guests really appreciate that on the day they can eat, drink, sit back, relax and reconnect with their loved ones while we take care of the driving but also, introduce them to the producers and share some insights.
Tell us your secret… What are some of the little joys that you bring to those that have entrusted you with their free time to have a day out, enjoying delicious food and fantastic drinks?
One of the favourite things is when we introduce a local to their own backyard and connect them to other producers that they may not have visited before or even heard about.
I love connecting people and places, it’s such a great community.
Our guest feedback is a great indicator that we’re on the right track:
“If you’re a small group searching for something exclusive, local, comprehensive and personalised – Epic Taste Experiences is for you! We had the BEST day, and felt like personal guests at every location June took us. This is definitely a MUST DO day out when you come to the Bellarine/Moorable regions.”
“We were treated to a day of discovery, scenery, delicious food, wine and history! The venues we visited were wonderful discoveries and introduced to us by June, whose passion for the region’s produce is deservedly contagious. This is a truly unique and personalised way to explore Geelong’s backyard – grab a group of your favourite friends and book your outing. You are guaranteed to be delighted – the day will leave you wanting more…”
If we were to spend a day in your shoes – what would that look like?
“Researching” to see if there are any new venues, artisan producers, wineries, breweries and distilleries. I would reach out to one of my wonderful girlfriends for an excuse to catch up and we visit these venues to see if it’s a fit with our business and then creating and designing our taste experiences around that visit.
What do you consider a good day at ‘work’ for you?
A great day at work is when our guests, like Kate and Alex from Shepparton, leave wonderful google reviews like this one below:
“I wish I could give June more stars. June went above and beyond for us and we had the best experience. I left the planning all in June’s hands since she knew the area and she did not dissapoint. Her warm and bubbly personality really set our day up for success, it was a pleasure being in her company. Her car is beautifully maintained, and she has warm blankets and umrellas if the weather isn’t the best, not to forget the goodie bag and arrangement of snacks she offers. if we’re ever back in the area, we will be booking a tour with June again. Thanks June!”
Every business needs an adviser! Who do you turn to for help and with so many accountants Geelong has on offer, why Canny Group?
Prior to starting the business, I had heard Amanda Wilkens share her story at a couple of business events. At one of these events, I was fortunate to have Mandy as my mentor and our conversation started from there.
I like that Mandy and the Canny Group are about helping startup businesses and especially women startups. It was easy to then switch my accounting matters over to the team at Canny Group as they’ve been there from the start of the Epic Taste Experiences business journey. The Canny team are also very accessible and provide no-fuss advice that I really appreciate.
What kind of support have you received from Canny Group since joining forces with them as your accountant?
Canny Group has assisted with both the business accounts and also our personal accounting which has been convenient and also gives us confidence that we are receiving the best advice. Canny is my one-stop shop for accounting and related business advice and I couldn’t be happier with their service.
Looking into your “Epic Taste Experiences crystal ball”… What do you see the future looking like for you and your business?
My BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is to expand into other aspects of food tourism and brand out to other regions of Victoria… Australia… and even beyond!
How do I get in contact + find out more about what you offer?
Through the channels below:
Phone: 0411 151 920