NZ Winemaker of the Year Winner!

Wed, 10 February 2021

Wow! Last night you were crowned NZ Winemaker of the Year 2021! The Judges said “Jules is one of New Zealand’s modern pioneers. She produces outstanding wine, is fiercely proud of her region, and mentors the up-and-coming breed of Kiwi winemakers…The respect and mana that Jules has in the New Zealand community is as much a reflection of the wines she makes as it is the contributions she is making to the country’s industry.”

How are you feeling? Did you have an inkling you were going to win beforehand?

No. It’s all very secretive 😊

How did you celebrate?

It’s a bit embarrassing really! I had to be up at 430am this morning for a webinar so couldn’t face a night with the booze fairies! Instead, George and I celebrated with Kapiti boysenberry icecreams! We had a bottle of bubbles with the team at work this morning though.

What does this award mean to you?

To even be nominated in a group of people whose creativity, modesty and skill inspire me was amazing. Winning – wow; I’m humbled, chuffed, excited and overwhelmed. As I said last night, I am totally aware that this is a team effort and I’m very lucky to be supported by a team of individuals at JTW, all of whom make my job the ‘easy bit’. I wouldn’t be here today without so much help along the way. There are so many people who have taught, mentored, lent money and cheered me on when the going has been tough. This really is a collective win.

How was the award decided?

A panel of judges (Bob Campbell MW, Cameron Douglas MS and Liz Wheadon – wine retail guru) narrowed the field down to a shortlist of 6 and then chose the final winner.

I hear it was an online awards ceremony? How did that work?

Yes it was. It was very simple. We (the winemakers) were all online (most sipping a Gin and Tonic!), as well as Judy from Gourmet Traveller Wine and Thibaut from Vintec (who are BIG supporters of these awards), and the judging panel….Bob, Cam MS and Liz. There were introductions and chats with the finalists and then the envelope moment.

Were you nervous?

Absolutely! My stomach was churning.

I guess you are doing a lot more online events and tastings these days?

For sure. And it has been quite interesting. While I miss meeting new people and sharing our wines ‘in person’, you can have a much greater reach online. The only barrier can sometimes be time zone differences – it is hard tasting Marlborough SB in the early hours – it’s not the greatest match for toothpaste!

Do you have any advice to pass on to other up-and-coming winemakers out there?

It’s a hard but very rewarding career – like most things! Our industry is very collaborative and friendly which is one of the things I love most about it! And every year is different which makes it more interesting and challenging at the same time…

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