Joelle Thomson

Writer, author, journalist

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Friday drinks with Jules Taylor and her love of home

Jules Taylor says she immediately returned home to Marlborough to beg for her first job after she finished her winemaking studies at Lincoln University in Canterbury. 

"I always imagined working in viticulture but after doing a vintage, I kind of got majorly sidetracked into winemaking. It was 1994 and the industry here was still small and we all know each other," she says. After working many vintages in Marlborough, Italy and Australia, Marlborough once again became home and in 2001, her first vinous baby – 400 cases Jules Taylor Wine - was produced. This is a little of her story. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 

Surviving almost three decades of vintages in a small, family business in New Zealand where sometimes, I feel like we are battling the whole time. There is always something going on and it isn’t easy.

What is your favourite thing about wine? 

Everyone has different taste preferences so there is room in the industry for many different producers making very different styles of wine.

Do you have a most treasured wine? 

I’m fairly hopeless at cellaring wines but I enjoy very much most champagne and methode champenoise. New Zealand has some really great ones at really reasonable prices so they don’t last long at our house.

When and where are you at your happiest? 

When I’m with family and friends, it’s warm outside and we are enjoying a great meal with lots of laughter, heated debate and solving of the world's problems.

What do you most dislike in wine? 

Overuse of oak. What’s being hidden under there? Give me balance.

What is your greatest fear? 

I have so many from the rain just as I need to mow the lawns to something dreadful happening to someone I love.

What is your greatest extravagance? 

Taking a month off work in 2012 and going to Sicily with our young family.

What is your greatest regret? 

Having trained for the New York Marathon in 2012, my friend Hanna and I arrived in the city to find it badly affected by Superstorm Sandy. After collecting our race packs and shopping for a day, it was announced that the marathon was cancelled for the first time in history. We were gutted, to say the least. And quite a lot of gin may have been consumed that night in misery. All that training. I’ve still never run one, and age is not on my side now.

What talent would you most like to have? 

Better willpower when it comes to so many things Shoe shopping, gin and chocolate, to name a few.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? 

Not asking for help when you need it.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 

I really can’t write them here. They are phrases I’m often squawking at our lads. I am a little prone to exaggeration when it comes to a lot of things. 

What is your favourite meal? 

Gosh, that’s a tough one, and probably for me it’s not actually about what I’m eating. I think a meal cooked with love by someone other than myself is hard to beat. I am also a huge fan of the pot luck dinner because it brings back so many fond memories of my youth. 

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

Well, probably my most prized possession is my washing machine, and doing laundry is my favourite pastime. It’s not a chore. I come from a family of laundry queens so, I’d like to come back as a front-loading washing machine.