He’s a 22-vintage veteran of the Marlborough wine industry but it’s his award-winning cuvée that really sparkles.
It’s hard not to remember meeting Clive Jones for the first time – a big smile and a firm handshake. But why is it that he doesn’t age? Maybe it has something to do with Marlborough water and being happy doing what he loves.
Jones has two degrees: the chemistry one came first, securing him a role at Selaks Wines in 1992 – and his
first apprenticeship into sauvignon blanc and bottle-fermented sparkling wine.
“I was lucky to serve my apprenticeship in west Auckland with Selaks Wines and I owe a lot to Darryl Woolley and the Selak family for giving me a start,” he says. The second one was an applied science degree via Charles Sturt University. This allowed Jones to develop his winemaking skill set fully.
After that, he moved to Marlborough full-time joining Nautilus Estate as Winemaker in 1998. After completing the 2020 season, he is now a 22-vintage veteran of the Marlborough wine industry and still has no more wrinkles than he did back when I first met him.
A key passion is the sparkling wine program at Nautilus, and with several awards for the Cuvée Marlborough plus multiple wine listings throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand, his specialist skills in this style are noteworthy. He has also overseen the development of the Nautilus Pinot Noir program, including design and operation of a dedicated facility.
What are your favourite wines to make? “You can’t have favourites or you risk dropping the ball on the others. Making premium bubbles requires patience whereas sauvignon provides immediate results. Working with new varieties such as grüner veltliner is exciting. If I am forced to choose one it would be chardonnay.”
What inspired you to become a winemaker? “Early wines that inspired were Nobilo Tietjen and Dixon Chardonnay along with Millton Opou. That is probably why I have been obsessed with chardonnay ever since.”
What new trends in wine are exciting you? “Making grüner veltliner and albariño has opened our eyes to different techniques such as partial skin ferment. I also think Marlborough pinot noir has really come of age.”
How would you like to see New Zealand’s wine industry evolve in the longer term? “It is great that the concepts of turangawaewae (identity) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) are so relevant to the wine industry and being adopted. Guardianship makes so much sense from a grape-growing point of view. We want New Zealand wine to be regarded as a national treasure.”
Cameron Douglas MS
Photography by Jessica Jones.
REGION | Marlborough
YEARS IN INDUSTRY | 28
ANNUAL CRUSH | 1,500-1,700 tonnes
STANDOUT WINES | NV Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough