Something definitely worth celebrating this year – Jules Taylor completing her 20th vintage! Cheers to Jules and George for dreaming big, working hard, and not taking themselves too seriously for twenty vintages.
It seems like the blink of an eye for Jules Taylor, but 2020 is the twentieth vintage for her successful Marlborough label. It has been quite the ride, from a few hundred cases to a very popular brand, but Jules is characteristically modest about it: “It’s just my little story” says Jules with a smile, as she reflects on the journey.
In 2001, Jules’ mentors suggested she needed to broaden her horizons and learn about the wider wine industry. As Jules says “at that time, all I knew was making wine”. They encouraged Jules to spread her wings and start her own label. The first vintage was a tiny 400 cases and comprised just two varieties: Riesling and Pinot Gris. “I figured that if it didn’t sell, our family was going to have a really great Christmas!” says Jules.
Several vintages in Piedmont and Sicily had taught Jules the value of a Mediterranean lifestyle: wine was enjoyed alongside delicious, simple food at shared mealtimes with family and friends and as part of a relaxed pace of life. Jules took that philosophy to heart, and it infuses the family-friendly company she has gone on to create, as well as the unpretentious yet superbly tasty wines she is famous for.
Times have changed over the twenty years, for example with a shift towards greater transparency on wine labels – The 2020 vintage Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc features a Vegan Friendly logo on its back label for the first time – and towards sustainability and organics in the vineyard – something that Jules is passionate about. Working with several different growers means seeing the benefits of various approaches in the vineyard. Jules took stock of what she saw and joined the Organic Winegrowers NZ organization in 2019. She also started to transition her own vineyard block to organic practices.
Moreover, Jules has begun a project with the local council to transition an area of the Opawa River around her HQ back to native wetland plantings to encourage the biodiversity of the site. “I’m really excited about it” says Jules. “I want to feel we are leaving things for our kids in a better shape than we found them.”
The changes over Jules’ twenty years making her own wine have never been greater than over the most recent vintage under lockdown. In Jules’ own words: “There were literally two days [heading into lockdown] where I was sh**ting a twinkie. If all the families we buy fruit from couldn’t get their grapes harvested and we couldn’t make the wine, it was going to get ugly.” However, now that the wines are complete, Jules can breathe a sigh of relief. The 2020 season was kind to the harvest and the wines are looking great. “We just have to hope we can sell them now” says Jules, referring with sympathy to the unsettled times that many of her longstanding friends in the hospitality sector are experiencing.
Head to our shop page to explore the full range of Jules Taylor wines available to order.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or to find out more!
The Single Vineyard Sellers