Last month we caught up with Takaki Okada, owner of a small wine start-up in Marlborough called Folium Vineyard.
Folium is an 8ha vineyard located in the Brancott Valley. A small producer to the scene, Takaki gained his viticulture and winemaking skills in the Napa Valley and now wants to bring a different slant to winemaking here in New Zealand.
Who started the winery and when?
Folium started producing wine in 2011 but the vineyard was originally planted in 1996.
Number of employees?
Two including myself.
What is the story behind the brand name?
It was a hard job to find a name for the wine. I thought the name of the road is perfect the name for the brand but I am on Brancott Road… Folium means leaf in Latin.
We believe that the plant produces the grape or wine and we just assist with the process. Leaves work the hardest in the process of growing grapes, that’s why we decided use the name Folium.
What’s your signature wine?
Sauvignon Blanc, especially from our clay soil.
What sets Folium apart from other producers in the region?
We dry farm our vineyard. (In an extremely dry year, we do irrigate a bit. In 2016 we irrigated a total of 8 hours.)
I grew up drinking wine from Europe. One of the interesting feature of wine is that each vintage creates a different wine. I believe rain patterns are one of the most important factors to shape a vintage and irrigation can mask the characteristics of a vintage.
We just turned off irrigation at Folium in 2011 except for the very young vines, and we’re trying to find out a way to grow them without it.
What makes your region special?
Weather and the people in Marlborough are so special.
Most memorable winemaking moment?
The first day of picking in 2011.
Winery dog/cat? Or other pet animals?
2 goats and 3 chicken at the moment.
Funniest customer tasting story?
I was giving a customer tasting in Japan and no one thought I am the producer. They all thought I am one of the shop staff.
Top 3 things to do in Marlborough
Wine, Wine, and Wine!!! We also have some good restaurants and beautiful scenery.
Last book you read?
The Code Book by Simon Singh.
Our vintage parties are …
Hangi, prepared by a Japanese!
Person you would most want to share a glass of wine with?
My girlfriend when I find one …
Make sure you follow Folium Vineyard on Facebook.