Situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka, Rippon Vineyard & Winery has the oldest commercial vines in Central Otago and one of the most stunning settings.
The first experimental plantings took place in 1975 and many people thought Ralph and Lois Mills were dreaming or mad. Despite the mostly negative opinions of the viticultural experts of the time, the climate data that Rolfe collected was encouragement enough for them to plant their first commercial vineyard block in 1982.
The Mills family still own and run the vineyard which has been in the family now for five generations. Their primary interest at Rippon is to foster wines which are a true and accurate reflection of their surroundings.
Granted custodianship over this very special piece of land, the family’s principle goal is to create vins de terroir, wines that are an accurate reflection of their surroundings.
It may seem an unlikely combination for one of New Zealand’s former top skiers to be head winemaker at a well-known vineyard, but for Rippon’s Nick Mills it is a perfect blend. In 2002, he returned home to Rippon after years spent competing in freestyle skiing and perfecting his craft in Burgundy.
“To be granted the opportunity to have my input into Rippon, the land and its wines is really special and comes with a huge amount of responsibility. We have already been here for four generations and it would be lovely to be here for another four. This is of course exactly what I want to be doing, exactly where I want to be doing it.”