The Julicher Winery story began in 1996, when Wim Julicher and his wife Sue decided to buy 20 hectares of uncultivated land in Martinborough's Te Muna. The land is located in the Wairarapa region, in the southeast corner of New Zealand's North Island, about an hour's drive from Wellington, the country's capital. The couple initially planted numerous olive trees on the land they acquired with the intention of starting to produce olive oil. However, Te Muna's merciless wind had a different opinion when it killed 2000 olive trees in just one winter. It was time to develop a plan b, which included planting plants that would be even tougher than hard-faced olive trees. What better crop to grow in the area than a vine known for its strong endurance!
The second chapter of the farm's history began when Wim and Sue sold the farm to the Brad and Warren Butterworth family in 2019. The Butterworths are known in New Zealand not only for their winemaking but also for their sailing skills. Even though Brad's heart is drawn to water, wine flows in his blood, as his ancestor W. Heathcote Jackman established one of the country's first vineyards in Kaipara Harbour. The vineyard still belongs to the Butterworth family as Warren and his wife Karen spend a lot of time there.
Julicher's orchards are located in the Te Muna valley, where the grapes grow on the stony terraces of the former river bed. The region's climate is similar to Burgundy in France, although slightly cooler due to its higher location. The summers are long and the amount of rain is low. The soil of the old stone terraces is very mineral and, together with the local microclimate, creates excellent conditions for growing high-quality grapes. Julicher's orchards mainly grow Pinot Noir, but also Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay. The orchards do not use irrigation systems, which is why the grapes produced are small and concentrated. The unified vineyard area covers 15 hectares and the entire winemaking process, from harvesting to cellar work, is done by hand. Under the leadership of the current winemaker Martin Bell, the whole team of the farm is ambitiously producing some of the most wonderful pinot noirs that are produced in the country.
Julicher has a certificate for sustainable viticulture, which means that the farm uses organic methods in its orchards. Compost is used as fertilizers instead of synthetic chemicals, and the sprays used in pest control are made from natural ingredients. In addition, the clippings from the vines are decomposed and left in the nurseries to bring more nutrients to the soil.