Our winery, located in Marlborough's Awatere Valley, is utilised to make both Tohu and Aronui wines, and can process 3000 tonnes of grapes at harvest. Owning our own modern, fit-for-purpose facility enables our winemaker and his team to have complete control and be able to optimise the quality of all of our wines.
Bruce Taylor is our winemaker and comes to us with a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc), Wine Science. He became interested in the world of wine in his late 20s while travelling overseas and joined the company in 2008,
He believes 'that wine should encapsulate a place and a time. As a product it doesn’t play by the same rules as mass-produced consumer goods. It's always different from year to year, place to place.’
Bruce and his team work hard to make wines that reflect the block, vineyard and region they come from.
Some Q & As with Bruce
What inspired you to become a winemaker?
I began to get interested in the world of wine in my late twenties, in particular while backpacking through North and South America. I visited a lot of wine areas in Chile, Argentina, California and Canada and started to think about how nice it would be to live in these beautiful places and to be able to actually make something that people valued and enjoyed.
What is your winemaking philosophy?
I believe that wine should encapsulate a place and a time. As a product it doesn’t play by the same rules as mass-produced consumer goods; it’s always different from year to year and place to place, and I think the winemaker should be trying to show those differences and not make a conformist, homogeneous product that could be from anywhere in the world. I am hoping to make the best possible wine that shows the differences we can achieve from our vineyards versus others.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role as winemaker?
I think the most challenging part of my role is having to wear many different hats on a daily basis. In a relatively small company, the role requires knowing and managing intimately the whole process from growing the grapes through harvesting to fermenting and finishing the wines, then getting them safely and carefully into bottles. Not to mention the marketing, sales, logistics and financial side of the business!
What is your favourite wine to make? And to drink?
Pinot Noir would be my favourite without a doubt. I love drinking and enjoying really good Pinots. Of all the grapes we have, they are by far the most fickle to grow; the trickiest to handle in the winery and the most challenging to get right in the bottle at the end of it all.
If you weren’t a winemaker, what would you be doing?
Pro surfer or possibly lead goal scorer for New Zealand in the soccer world cup. Though I admit that I may have left my run a bit late...
The best thing about making wines for Aronui and Tohu is...
We have some truly great vineyard sites that are only now starting to show their potential. Working for a Kiwi-owned company that genuinely cares for its people and its land is, I think, a bit of a rarity these days and is something I am grateful for every day.