AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 8 & The Best Vineyard in Australasia
Name of wine estate: Rippon
Country: New Zealand
Wine region: Central Otago
Standout points: Jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka; stunningly sleek biodynamic wines
Winemaker: Nick Mills
Wine style: Fine, terroir-focused noble varieties (Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewürztraminer)
One farm, one family
Rippon is one of Central Otago’s oldest wine-producing estates. Situated on the shore of Lake Wanaka with frankly dazzling views of the South Island’s snow-capped southern Alps, it’s the sort of place you only expect to exist in fairytales. Small wonder that this has become one of the most popular wedding destinations in New Zealand.
It was in 1975 that Rolfe Mills, the third generation of his family on the farm, began planting experimental rows of Vitis vinifera. Through careful observation, and trial and error, these vines were whittled down to a prime selection of noble cultivars – mainly Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer – which were propagated on the farm’s most favourable slopes.
Wines with a ‘wow’ factor
More than four decades later, these same unirrigated vines, the majority of which remain on their own roots, have been nurtured in the farm’s unique microclimate to produce some of the finest wines in Central Otago. Biodynamic since 2003, Rippon vineyard is split into a mosaic of different parcels, with forensic attention paid to each individual vine. In the cellar, fourth-generation winemaker Nick Mills vinifies most of these parcels separately, allowing for superfine-tuning of the wines.
About that view
As befits its fairytale setting, Rippon is an immensely popular venue for weddings, its wood-panelled events room providing jaw-dropping views of the lake. Appointment-only wine tastings are available at the cellar door, where visitors can enjoy a leisurely taste-through of the range with Rippon’s cheerily well-informed staff. A sensible next step would be to order a cheese and/or charcuterie plate with which to savour your favourite bottle on the picnic tables overlooking the lake.
A winning combination
Apart from boasting one of the most photographed wine estate views in the world, Rippon is known for the high quality of its wines. This stems from the intimate knowledge of five generations of the same family farming the same land.