Wine Maker

An Interview with Jules Taylor, the ‘Queen of Sauvignon Blanc’


Born in Marlborough, when the first vines were planted, Jules Taylor has in many ways grown up with Sauvignon Blanc. In 2008, after working as a senior winemaker for Kim Crawford she decided to start producing her own wines alongside her husband George Elworthy. But according to Jules, it was when she began travelling to southern Italy to work on the harvests that her purpose really began to blossom. The philosophy she developed from her time in Italy continues to underpin the vision behind her wines to this day – that “drinking wine should be less about status and more about creating good memories.”
In the midst of the chaos that 2020 brought, we sat down with Jules to discuss her journey into producing wine, her future plans and some general chit chat.

1. Have you always known that you would make wine for a living?

No! I went to University because all my friends were going! And studied Zoology and Plant and Microbial Science. Some of which is useful in winemaking, but mostly useless 😊

2. If you were not making wine for a living, what would you be doing?

I would have liked to have done physiotherapy. But probably would have ended up making something, like bread or cheese or both..mmmmmm

3. What is your first memory about wine?

Our family wasn’t a wine-drinking family – probably because when I was growing up, there wasn’t much of an industry here and very little imported wine. My first memories are of Mateus Rose and some dreadful bag-in-box wine with a name I can’t spell. Things have changed thankfully!

4. How would you describe your philosophy in 3 words?

Simple, elegant and refreshing

5. What is your biggest challenge as a winemaker?

Stopping the financial controller from releasing the wines before they are ready!

6. Can you explain Marlborough terroir in a few words and what make it really special for the Sauvignon grape?

This takes more than a few words, but…. High UV without high temperatures, low humidity and rainfall, cool overnight temperatures during the final stages of ripening (this means the fruit retains a nice, bright, juicy acidity)

7. Is there a Sauvignon producer, a winemaker or a wine region that has been your stylistic guiding light?

Not really. Our fruit really makes the style of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc what it is….

8. And personally, what is your favourite grape variety?

That’s like asking which child is my favourite! It depends! I do love sparkling wines and dry Riesling (actually any Riesling) and Chablis.

9. What do you drink if it is not your own wines?


10. The best way to taste / to enjoy your wine? (friends, family, special music…)

Our wines are made to drink with or without food. I suggest with friends/family and without complications

11. What would be the best dish to go along with your Sauvignon Blanc?

Try pairing the SB with Ceviche or a lovely fragrant Asian fish curry

12. Can you tell us a funny story that imprinted your memory in your estate? Another funny story with Decorum?

Gosh, I don’t know. I meet many people who are surprised I am a woman – that is always funny. I didn’t meet Rupert until we had been exporting to the UK for 11 years!!!!!

13. Do you have some new projects, ambitions for the domaine?

Nothing new in the pipeline – we are ‘sticking to our knitting’ so to speak! At the moment, with all the craziness in the world, if we can just keep our ship steering in the right direction, that would be grand!