Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Friday drinks with... Julian Grounds

Craggy Range winery has a foot in two camps, in relation to New Zealand's wine regions. It is based in Hawke's Bay and spreads its winemaking wings further afield with approximately 70 per cent of its grapes now planted in Martinborough. The grapes from both of these east coast regions are given a lot of TLC in the winery by winemaker Julian Grounds, who is charged with the task of making big reds and full bodied whites from the Bay as well as lithe, cooler climate wines from Martinborough.
This is his story.

This interview is based on Proust questionnaire which originated in 1886

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Convincing my beautiful wife to marry me.  

What is your favourite thing about wine? 

That a product derived from the earth can generate so much emotion and play such an important cultural role in our lives.   

Do you have a most treasured wine? 

Pierre Overnoy as a producer. Spending a night at the Overnoy house in 2018 remains my fondest wine memory to this point. In terms of one that I have been involved in making, the Pinot Noirs we made at Ponzi, Oregon in 2008 began my love affair with Pinot.

When and where are you at your happiest? 

On a beach holiday with the family, post surf, seafood on the table, about to down a glass of good Chablis.

What do you most dislike in wine?

What is your greatest fear? 

From a physical point of view, as a surfer from remote Western Australia, big fish with big teeth…. In terms of my life’s journey, being bored or uninspired. So must always be learning and looking.  

What is your greatest extravagance? 

Most would say the amount I spend on wine is a vast extravagance. Within that, it’s the Selosse offer that always gets me...

What is your greatest regret? 

Not going to university in Beaune. I can just imagine the cohort and after class drinks.

What talent would you most like to have? 

The ability to play guitar. I look at envy with those that can.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? 

I hope I never get there. Although, being an Essendon Bombers fan (Australian Football) takes me pretty close on a yearly basis. 

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 

As an Australian, embellishment and colourful language are often used profusely.

What is your favourite meal?

Western Australian marron, halved and grilled over coal.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing what would it be? 

A truffle pig.