With twenty-five years of cultivating, nurturing and picking up more than their fair share of gold medals, the foundations of one of New Zealand’s most mature vineyards are set, ready for the next custodians to take the helm.
New owners Brad and Warren Butterworth jumped at the chance to build on Wim Julicher’s (and his patient partner, Sue Darling’s) success. “We loved the wine so much we bought the vineyard” jokes Brad, however, he’s deadly serious. Brad & Warren aspire to see their Te Muna Estate recognised as one of the very best producers in the region.
While the Butterworth Family is world famous for their sailing achievements, their viticultural heritage dates back to the founding days of the New Zealand wine industry. Romeo Bragato described the family’s wine production as ‘equal, and very likely superior, to any wine imported into the country’ at the time. The original 1890’s vineyard property is still in the family today.
“While my sailing career has taken me around the world, we’re very focused on investing in New Zealand.” says owner Brad Butterworth.
“We run several businesses together and wine has always been a great passion we share, blending the two has been more than a 5-year process of finding the right site” adds cousin and co-owner Warren Butterworth.
“Not much has changed at the business end” says Warren. Veteran local viticulturalist and vineyard manager, Kyra Day is continuing her great work refining the vineyard and overseeing the new plantings. Martin Bell, multi-awarded Biotechnologist by trade runs the entire winemaking programme on site.
“We’re in such an exciting phase in the vineyard, the vines are just hitting their potential at 15-20 years of age, the resulting wines are going to be very special in the years to come” says Kyra Day.
As well as acquiring a neighbouring property on Te Muna Rd to expand plantings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the new owners have invested in a brand refresh putting their names to new wines to come from Julicher Vineyard.
“We have a lot of respect for Wim & Sue and wanted to evolve things but make sure they were always part of the story” says Brad Butterworth.
The iconic Julicher ‘J’ now forms a J-Knot, the strongest knot you can tie. A fitting homage to Wim. Julicher Vineyard will remain a mark of quality and adorn the wines of that site. As well as the Butterworth Estate Collection of wines, the Martinborough producer will also partner with local growers to produce a regional series called ‘Layline by Butterworth’.
Watch out for the WineFolio review of the new Dry Riesling in the very near future!