The Friday wine interview is inspired by the Proust questionnaire, which originated in 1886. Find out more here.
This is the first Australian wine interview on this website’s famous Proust questionnaire and it’s with Justin Taylor of Taylors Wines. Not that he or the winery need any introduction, so, without further ado, here’s Justin.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My wife, my 21 year marriage and my four children are by far my biggest achievement.
I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think how blessed I am to have them in my life. The family wine business is an achievement and the small role I play in it. Generation two, my father’s generation, handed over the reins of the family business to generation three in 2000 and in the 21 years since I think the business has grown better.
What is your current state of mind?
I’m OK and thanks for asking. It’s so important we do ask each other “how are you going?”. Two years of Covid has impacted everyone and it’s had some challenges attached to it. Some lost their lives to Covid so with that in mind, the impact on me personally is nothing. I enjoyed being stuck in the house with Brooke and the kids, even though I missed not being able to travel and engage with our customers around the world.
What is your favourite part of winemaking?
My key role in the business is currently international sales so that keeps me pretty busy. I love any chance to work with our wine making team. Adam Eggins, our chief winemaker, is an incredible guy and a ridiculously good winemaker. I think my favourite part of winemaking is that you never stop learning. There’s always more to know so we can constantly improve our family’s wines.
Do you have a most treasured wine?
Our 2009 Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon. It represents our family’s ongoing journey in wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is my father’s favourite grape variety and The Visionary was, for me and my brothers, a chance to take ours to the next level. It’s a beautiful wine.
Where is your favourite wine region?
The appellation of Montrachet in Burgundy, France. The first time I enjoyed really good Montrachet, it completely blow me away. I just didn’t think wine could be so perfect and it can be. That moment in your personal wine journey when you discover something new that takes you to the next level is so much fun. It’s the best part of the wine industry – the next big discovery is just around the corner.
When and where are you at your happiest?
At lunch with family and friends. Great wine. Excellent food. Laughter and fun. I love it.
What do you most dislike in wine?
We’ve made it a little scary for people to get into. No one should be scared of a wine list. Wine is but fun. Visit wineries. Ask questions.
What is your greatest fear?
The future for the family business. It’s a hard industry to make a go of. We have done well til now. I wish generation four all the best. They can catch me for lunch and a chat any day. I think a bit of fear is healthy. It can keep you up at night but that comes with the territory.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I drive a nice car, nothing too special. I keep some pretty good wine and Champagne in the house to enjoy with family and friends.
What is your greatest regret?
Not really into regrets. I probably have some, just none I can think of.
What talent would you most like to have?
Confidence. Most of my friends may tell you I’ve got plenty, however I think if a person has confidence they will achieve their best in life and that is what it’s all about, you get one shot, go for it. Life is there to be lived. Live it.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Death. We lost our sister to cancer in 2004. That had so much hurt and pain attached, at times it didn’t feel possible to get through it. You do.
What is the trait that you most deplore in yourself?
I talk about myself way too much. I try to keep it interesting and use it to get others involved in the conversation but still think I could make it for more less about me – I’m not that interesting, no surprise.
What do you most value in your friends?
The friendship, the love, the laughs.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Am I making sense?”
If I was making sense I shouldn’t have to check with people.
What is your favourite meal?
So many. It depends on the food, the wine, the occasion, I love all foods except anchovy, I love anything that includes truffles.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing what do you think it would be?
Someone who contributed and had fun. Barack Obama comes to mind. He made a difference and appeared to enjoy the journey. If it was an animal, a horse. They look good and run fast. That’s got to be fun.