Q&A with Victor Joyeux, winemaker at Cloudy Bay in Marlborough

Victor Joyeux Cloudy BayVictor Joyeux Cloudy Bay

Cloudy Bay is the one of those brands if not THE brand that most people overseas recall when talking New Zealand wine or Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

We’re thrilled to introduce you to one of the makers of the iconic Cloudy Bay wines today, French-born & raised winemaker Victor Joyeux.

Hi Victor, thanks a lot for your time. Let’s go…

What does a typical working day look like for you?
The beauty of being a winemaker is that I can’t answer that question because my days are always different. Some of them will be in the vineyard, others travelling around to present the wine we do, a lot of them at the winery working with our team and make sure we make the right decisions.

Then my job changes as the grapes are growing or as the wine if fermenting and the wine needs to be blended… It is kind of a seasonal job that makes my days quite different.

Victor Joyeux by Wine Zealand Project

Victor Joyeux by Wine Zealand Project

When and why did you fall in love with wine?
This is because my parents are wine lovers, in particular my father. I grew up in a family where wine and food take a really important place. Opening a bottle of wine has always been considered as a special moment by my father. Since I was a kid he let me smell and sometime (for really good bottles) drink a bit of it.

He kept the greatest wine he gave me to taste and one-off them was a “Calon Segur”, Saint Estephe, Bordeaux, 1924. I obviously don’t remember it but this explains a bit the family atmosphere I grew up in.

Why did you become a winemaker?
I didn’t really know I wanted to be a winemaker until someone in my school mentioned I could study viticulture and oenology within that school if I wanted. This was the turning point for me to really start thinking that this was possible. After thinking about it everything made sense and I went for it without any hesitation.

Cloudy Bay Vineyard by Wine Zealand Project

Cloudy Bay Vineyard by Wine Zealand Project

If you were a wine, which one would you be?
A blend of all the awesome wines I have discovered travelling around the world!

What’s your signature wine?
Definitely Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc by Wine Zealand Project

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc by Wine Zealand Project

Wine & dine, what’s your favorite match?
Hard question but I will go for a 5/10 years old left bank Bordeaux which compliments a homemade duck confit leg served with freshly harvested sliced porcini mushrooms cooked simply with a bit of garlic and a touch of parsley and potatoes cooked in duck fat. Delicious!

Share a fact about yourself that only a few know
I speak French, English, Spanish, understand a bit of Italian and Portuguese.

Cloudy Bay Barrels by Wine Zealand Project

Cloudy Bay Barrels by Wine Zealand Project

Hidden gems and favourite spots in Marlborough

  • The Marlborough Sounds by kayak or boat.
  • My special fishing spots are in the Wairau River.
  • Dinning in between the vines.
  • Having a dozen of oysters (or more) in the sun in January at the Cloudy Bay Raw Bar at the cellar door.

Things you still want to do – what’s on your bucket list?
Too long to write it all down. After spending the last 10 years travelling around and learning how to make wine in six different countries (France, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and the USA), I think I got the travelling bug and I still want to explore what is around me.

I want to visit New Zealand as much as I can and the next focus with my partner will be to do the Milford Sound track in 2017.

Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
With my whole family on a summer day in the South West part of France.

Thanks Victor!

See Victor in action! Our friends Sara & Willy created the following video about Cloudy Bay in Marlborough as part of their Wine Zealand Project. Enjoy!

Find out more about Cloudy Bay on their website and make sure you follow them on Facebook | Twitter & Instagram.


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