Featured Winery March 2024 – Rippon Vineyard Wanaka

This month we head back to Central Otago to visit Rippon Vineyard in Wanaka. Rippon is a distinct parcel of land overlooking the Southern Alps on the western shores of Lake Wanaka. The vineyard is farmed biodynamically and the land has been cared for by the same family for four generations. Their wines are a true reflection of this beautiful piece of land. Read on for the Rippon Story…

Rippon Vineyard Hall
Rippon Hall Overlooking Lake Wanaka

The Rippon Hall looks out over Rippon’s vines, Lake Wanaka, Ruby Island, and the Southern Alps beyond. With access right down to the lake itself, The Rippon Hall venue offers the very best of Central Otago: vineyards, lake and mountains.


Rippon has been farmed by the Mills family for 4 generations, dating back to 1912. They have been winegrowers since 1982 and their principal commitment is to the soils and connecting our people to their place.

In 1975, Rolfe Mills, the third generation of his family on the farm, started to plant a series of experimental rows of Vitis Vinifera – In 1982, Rolfe and his wife Lois planted the first block of vines with the express interest of growing high quality wine, and released their first commercial vintage in 1989.

The land continues to be farmed by the Mills family, together with a team of dedicated long-term staff.

Granted a moment of custodianship, the primary interest of all who work and live at Rippon is to do justice to this remarkable piece of land. As winegrowers, the team’s principal commitment is to the soil. Nurturing a healthy, responsive medium underfoot binds the vines and the people to their land.


Central Otago is situated on the 45° south latitude line, near the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand. It is on the Eastern side of Australasia’s largest mountain range, The Southern Alps and is New Zealand’s only viticultural region with a truly “continental” climate. It is also the world’s most southern viticultural region.

Rippon Vineyard
The Vineyard Overlooking Lake Wanaka

The Rippon Vineyard lies at 330 metres altitude, on the shores of Lake Wanaka and is described by the family using the following four elements.

LIGHT: Central Otago: the only continental climate in New Zealand viticulture with high ultra violet light, long sunshine hours and highly refractive soils.

AIR: Wanaka: a more temperate climate relative to the rest of Central Otago due to its close proximity to the dividing mountains of the Southern Alps.

WATER: Lake Wanaka: the temperance of this large thermal mass, coupled with the protective nature of Ruby Island further softens Rippon’s microclimate.

EARTH: Schist: the metamorphic mother rock, rich in foliated mica and quartzite is deposited as glacial moraines, coarse-layered gravels, ancient lake-bed clays and wind-blown loess.

Biodynamic farming and no irrigation help the vine drive energy into its seed, and issue raw material that is capable of fostering wines that are true to their place. For over 30 years, through careful observation and selection the varieties and the individual vines that were proven to be most suited to the site were planted, parcel by parcel, on the farm’s most favorable slopes.

The greater majority of Rippon’s vines today remain on their own roots. Read more about the place and the land here:
https://rippon.co.nz/ land/

Original Rippon Vineyard Tasting Shed
The Original Tasting Shed – Photo Taken by JB When he visited ‘back in the day!’


Whether you’re after a structured Pinot Noir to put in the cellar or a juicy white to enjoy next to the lake, you can find it at Rippon. They produce a range of typically Central Otago grown varieties:

Bottles 1

Pinot Noir, from the ‘Jeunesse’ Young Vine and Mature Vines, Gamay, a Pinot Rose, a mature vines Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Osteiner.

Bottles 2

Shop Rippon Wines here: https://rippon.co.nz/wine/


Set against a backdrop of Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps, they invite you to the Mills family farm to share their history, community, story and wines.  They are open by appointment from 12pm to 5pm, 7 days a week. You can book using the online booking calendar for availability. Tastings hold a maximum of 6 people and run every half hour. Our Cellar Door tastings remain free of charge. Large group (more than six people) and private tastings can be arranged and accommodated on request.

The Rippon Cellar Door and Tasting Room


With such stunning outlook, The Rippon Hall is the perfect venue for weddings and other events. Thirty years of planning and dreaming gave rise to The Rippon Hall, a building quite literally born of the land upon which it stands. The walls are made from compacted earth dug from the Rippon hillside, the trusses and beams are built of timber from our larch forest and our boiler warms the building with wood taken from the farm.


Situated atop the Rippon hill, the hall and its surrounding outdoor spaces offer a spectacular location for outdoor weddings. The natural amphitheatre, offering views out over the vines to Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps, lies adjacent to the Rippon Hall and is our hugely popular outdoor ceremony location. Some couples choose to carry on in the amphitheatre for toasts, canapés and lawn games, while others opt to move the celebrations up the hill for closer access to the comforts of our world-class hall.


Whether you are looking for a small space for round table discussions, something larger for a full scale conference or trade show or an intimate and warm room for an end of event dinner, The Rippon Hall has it all. The loft area is the perfect space for a breakout room or smaller meetings while the hall itself can be set up for lectures, larger tabled events or gala dinners. The covered terrace offers options for larger conference numbers and additional breakout spaces. In winter, the roaring fire will counter the snow-clad mountains; in summer, throw open the doors and enjoy Central Otago sunshine.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a little about Rippon Vineyard – head over to their website for much more information, purchase wines and book you next wine tasting or event overlooking the beautiful Lake Wanaka. Cheers, JB

Visit – https://rippon.co.nz/

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