The rocks tell you you’re at Rockburn. Smooth riverstones are a recurring design motif at this cellar door. They are incorporated in the large Rockburn sign outside, trussed in wire holding up the tasting bar and you also see them scattered around the exterior walls.
The tasting room occupies an appealingly open space in the winery building on the outskirts of Cromwell. Cellar-door manager Viki George is a font of knowledge on the wines and the terroir.
From small beginnings in 2001, Rockburn has grown in stature to be a respected player. It is owned by a trio of wine-loving businessmen, while the wine is made by the dedicated Malcolm Rees-Francis.
There are two tiers to the range: the Rockburn label and the entry-level Devil’s Staircase label. Varietals produced are pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, riesling, gewurztraminer, sauvignon blanc and a pinot rosé.
Our picks Make sure you taste a very interesting one-off pinot produced in 2010 called The Art.
Plus There are some interesting add-ons at the Rockburn cellar door, such as the French barrel-weighing gadget in one corner (kids are drawn to it immediately) and the splendid local artworks adorning the walls.