This year marks the 20th anniversary of Jules Taylor’s eponymous winery and to suggest she’s mastering sauvignon blanc is a serious understatement.
Jules Taylor has a simple approach to life: a Negroni or gin and tonic at the end of a hard day’s work, a family first mantra, and developing strong relationships within the wine community.
Her interest in winemaking grew from a desire to replicate the success of others. “It mostly came from watching the local industry thrive and become more well known around the world,” she says, “and a desire to save some money by making my own wine.”
Taylor was born in Marlborough in the same year that the first sauvignon blanc vines were planted there. She is one of the few Marlborough natives to have experiences of 27 vintages back to back, seen the evolution of sauvignon blanc along with many other varieties throughout the region and produced a remarkable portfolio of wines along the way. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Jules Taylor Wines brand.
Taylor completed her degree in viticulture at Lincoln University in Christchurch, then headed overseas to explore other wine regions around the globe, during which time she worked several vintages in Italy and Australia.
A couple of winemaking stints in Piedmont and Sicily cemented Taylor’s appreciation for wine as a simple pleasure to be enjoyed alongside good food and great friends. After working her way to group senior winemaker at one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed wineries Taylor, and husband George, made the “nail-biting decision” to put everything on the line, jack in their day jobs and give their dream a shot.
They launched Jules Taylor Wines in 2001, back then producing just 200 cases.
To say that Taylor knows sauvignon blanc is an understatement, she has grown and produced many remarkable examples over the years as well as advising, discussing and promoting the variety at numerous wine gatherings. Taylor is not only a sauvignon blanc specialist, she makes fantastic pinot noir and chardonnay.
Which of your wines are you most proud of? “OTQ Chardonnay because it has beautiful reduction, linearity and is a good example of what Marlborough chardonnay can be.”
Is there any new trend or innovation in wine that’s excited you lately? “I love that in Marlborough winemakers are exploring different styles of sauvignon blanc and showing consumers and wine buyers especially the ones who don’t give Marlborough sav blanc the credit it deserves. It is a variety that is very versatile and it can be exciting and vibrant, as well as sexy and understated.”
Cameron Douglas MS
Photography courtesy of Jules Taylor Wines.
REGION | Marlborough
YEARS IN INDUSTRY | 26
ANNUAL CRUSH | Varies
STANDOUT WINES | 2019 OTQ Pinot Noir