Despite the obvious challenges that came with 2021, for New Zealand Winemaker of the Year, Jules Taylor, the year was one worth remembering.
Jules Taylor was born in Marlborough in the year the first vines were planted on the vineyard she now owns. It’s been a life deeply involved with the grassy Sauvignon Blanc for which the region is known, some of the best of which is now expertly made by Jules and her team. Jules isn’t one for self promotion, though. According to her, she’s “just the godmother to all these tiny little grapes which, hopefully, will end up turning into something that, if used sensibly, will give people joy”.
Jules sees her wine as being for “people who laugh. People who sing, dance, feast, and celebrate. People who sit out on the back deck solving the world’s problems”.
On being named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year: “That came as quite a shock! I had heard my name was on the shortlist but I honestly never imagined they’d actually pick me to win the award. It’s a bit embarrassing, really.”
Despite the surprise of it all, the impact has been truly positive. “It has been nice to see some more people discovering our wines, and hopefully finding a new favourite in there. And I did get a call from an old school mate who had read about the award. I love that about our industry — it is great for bringing people together.”
Another highlight for Jules this year was, of course, the wine itself.
“The quality of the wines in 2021 was definitely a highlight. I just wish there was more to go around.” This year saw a tiny vintage across New Zealand due to unsettled weather earlier in the season.
Despite the quantity, Jules says, “I can’t think of a vintage that was more perfect; I didn’t see a bad berry — the fruit was just so clean. And the flavours in the finished wines are just mouth-watering — they are so perfect.”
The small vintage means that Jules is eagerly looking forward to 2022 and the next season. The vines are already hard at work, growing the next crop of her ‘godchildren’.
“I firmly believe wines are more about creating great memories and less about status or cellaring potential.”
That refreshing optimism and joyfulness come through in every bottle of Jules Taylor wine.