Whether circumstance or serendipity had Jules Taylor growing up in Marlborough at the time that the wine industry was taking off, she happily admits that she had no blinding ambition to become a winemaker - but things change.
At university she did a degree in zoology. There being a slight shortage of vacancies for zoologists in Marlborough, after completing her degree Jules went on to do a postgraduate course in winemaking and viticulture at Lincoln.
Her first job was working at one of Marlborough’s original custom wineries, Vintech, and work continued with vintages in Piedmont, Sicily, Australia and Cloudy Bay, before taking a permanent job at Marlborough Valley Cellars. This was the big step. It was here that she came across the three people that were to be her mentors, Kim Crawford, Simon Waghorn and Matt Thompson.
It was they who encouraged her to launch her own label and, in 2001, Jules made her first batch of Jules Taylor wines. 200 cases of Pinot Gris and Riesling. Today those 200 cases have been joined by Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Rosé. Waiting in the wings are Gruner Veltliner and Arneis.
But back to the beginning. Marlborough is the region that put the distinctive summery grassiness of the New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc on the world map. Marlborough is Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc is Jules Taylor’s obsession. She likes the unique expression of the region. She likes its vibrancy. She likes drinking it. And she loves making it. The Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc won the Champion Sauvignon Blanc trophy at the Air New Zealand wine awards in 2007, and again, in 2010. A happy coincidence? We suspect not.
Jules Taylor Wines source their grapes from vineyards in the Wairau and Awatere...