Despite the cellar door only opening in 2000, Torlesse is one of the oldest Waipara wineries. The Torlesse building was converted into a winery back in the 1980s for Glenmark Wines before Torlesse relocated there in 1991. If it’s a weekday, chances are it’ll be cowboy-hatted Kym or his son and winemaking partner Ben who will greet you at the old converted red barn that doubles as the winery and cellar door. On the weekends it’s Kym’s wife Maggie’s domain.
Things to know
Kym Rayner has been the winemaker here since 1990; he’s an Aussie who is now one of the region’s most recognised identities. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic along and enjoy the kid-, dog- and bike-friendly garden surroundings. Torlesse is also a foundation member of the Greening Waipara initiative and there are hundreds of native species that you can wander among on the winery’s popular Biodiversity Trail.
The Shadowy Kym, a sauternes-style, late-harvest sauvignon blanc is a real treat. Kym’s gewurztraminer is always impressive and for something really different the verdelho and small-batch Omihi Road wines are worth a sip. Plus, on a cold day warm the cockles with a tipple of Kym’s 10-year-old 18 per cent port or his liqueur crème de cassis.
Check out the treasure trove of arts and crafts on offer.