When it comes to winemaking, Julianne Brogden has found value in collaboration.
Issue 3928 20th August 2015
“Winemaking is addictive,” says Julianne (“Julz”) Brogden. “It involves physical, dirty, hard labour and long, crazy hours.” But friendships made around the world, “the many laughs, great food, the loud, eclectic music – and of course the fine wine”, have made it all worthwhile.
Raised in Hawke’s Bay, Brogden is a Bachelor of Wine Science who worked for seven years in the famous Napa Valley wine region, near San Francisco. Back in the Bay, she works at the long-established Pask winery, but since 2010 has also been crafting consistently classy wines under her own label, Collaboration.
Brogden doesn’t own a vineyard or a winery. “For every wine, I think about what attributes I want to see in the final wine, then source sites accordingly.”
Family and close friends help with the vineyard work. “I run the bottling line at my main job, so I manage to get my mum, older sister and friends to put the bottles on the line and pack at the other end when I’m bottling my own wine.”
Other key supporters include her partner, winemaker Richard Painter, who works at the Te Awa winery, and vineyard supervisor Sam – a labrador.
A feature of Collaboration wines is their lovely labels. After living in a trailer in a Napa Valley canyon, paying US$50 a month, Brogden moved in with a well-known artist, Angela Tirrell – and her world of “entertaining dinner parties, interesting people and, of course, beautiful artwork”.
Conversation turned to the creation of a new range of wines, produced by Brogden and adorned with Tirrell’s abstract paintings.
The current releases include the stylish Ceresia Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2013 and the hand-picked, barrel-fermented Collaboration Aurulent Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2013 (5/5 stars, $30), a very youthful, elegant wine. Mouthfilling, with a fragrant, citrusy bouquet, gently seasoned with oak, it is crisp and vibrant, with slightly smoky and buttery notes, firm acid spine, and excellent complexity, structure and depth.