The vista that’s become emblematic of Central Otago wine’s physical beauty spreads out before you when you visit Rippon. The cellar door is located at the top of the vineyard that slopes down towards the breathtaking Lake Wanaka and Ruby Island.
The building itself is called The Rippon Hall. It includes a large hall with a minstrel gallery and is set up for weddings and other functions, as well as housing a dedicated tasting room. After entering through grand wooden doors, you’ll find that the tasting room, in keeping with the grand design, is elegant and functional, with a pitched ceiling.
Old photos hang on the walls, offering glimpses into the history of this winery, founded by Rolfe and Lois Mills. They planted the first commercial vines in 1982, against the advice of almost everyone, and were proven right. The next generation of the family is now looking after the property, with son Nick Mills making the wine. In 2012, Rippon celebrates both 100 years of the family farming the land and also 30 years of winegrowing. With such a legacy to uphold, Rippon is devoted to looking after this special piece of land and is strongly committed to biodynamics.
Varietals produced are pinot noir, riesling, gewurztraminer, sauvignon blanc, osteiner (a riesling-sylvaner hybrid) and gamay.
Our picks Rippon makes several pinot noirs that are all fascinating, but particularly those showcasing the property’s older vines. Make sure that you also taste the riesling (two styles are made).
Plus The popular Rippon Music Festival is held every second year over Waitangi Weekend (the first weekend in February). It often features some of New Zealand’s best-known musicians and draws large crowds.