Clive Jones has been the winemaker at Nautilus since 1998 and is this week’s interviewee in The Friday wine drop…
Like most Marlborough winemakers, Clive’s job is to make high volumes of Sauvignon Blanc, so Clive makes less Chardonnay than ever before but is happier with its style and quality than ever before too. A vertical tasting of Nautilus Chardonnays proved the point, showing that, even at eight years old, these wines are incredibly fresh – and age beautifully. Nautilus is also a member of Methode Marlborough – a group of 10 companies adhering to strict rules around the making of their traditional method sparkling wines.
What’s your favourite part of working in a winery?
Clive Jones: The diversity of tasks – from growing and making through to marketing and selling. Then of course there is ‘vintage’ – the one time of the year when everything is at stake. It is super busy but with the right people around you it can also be lots of fun.
What trends do you see emerging with wine today?
Clive Jones: More emphasis on authenticity. Having a sense of place and a sense of direction for wine companies. People want to hear genuine stories and know that there is some substance behind a wine brand. Whether the story is based around organic, conventional or even natural wine, is less important than the story itself. I love the way we can relate this to Turangawaewae in New Zealand and talk about the ‘place where we stand’ (and make wine).
When did you decide to dive in and work with wine?
Clive Jones: I enjoyed drinking wine and saw it as an exciting opportunity that was closely aligned to my skill set at the time. Back then the New Zealand wine industry was just starting to emerge on the world stage so it was a great time to hop on board.
What inspires you each morning?
Clive Jones: The Marlborough landscape and surrounding environment. It is easy to get inspired in the short drive up the valley from home to the winery.
How has your wine drinking changed over the years?
Clive Jones: Well, I would like to think it has become more refined. Certainly we are seeing more diversity in wine styles from both New Zealand and overseas, which is good for broadening horizons.
What’s your favourite wine and food match?
Clive Jones: Marlborough Chardonnay and Marlborough hot smoked salmon on crusty bread. Simple but delicious. The weirdest match I have had recently was Warthog tacos and Pinotage – in South Africa of course.
What’s your favourite wine?
Clive Jones: Professionally it has to be Chardonnay but, for pure pleasure, it is Riesling (as I don’t make one).
What keeps wine rewarding for you?
Clive Jones: The yearly cycle of work is basically the same but every year is different and will bring new challenges which keeps you refreshed and continually learning.