Though we were already in love with Wanaka, the real treat came as a recommendation from one of our hostel roommates, who informed us that there was a winery within walking distance from where we were staying and naturally we didn’t want to miss out (we do love a wine tasting). Spoiler alert: this guy totally undersold the place.
We started our little adventure by the Lake, for a daily dose of beauty and to take some more photos of it – though these will never do justice to how vast and breathtaking it is. We then walked up through the residential part of town, and saw some truly gorgeous houses. We obviously picked out which house we would buy, only to change our minds with each new one we spotted.
After walking a fair distance, we finally reached the main road which is pretty isolated, just grass and mountains as far as the eye can see until you reach the winery. The entrance to said winery doesn’t look like much at all, and it’s difficult to tell if it’s open to the public, but as we had walked all that way we decided to try our luck and begun meandering up the long gravelly drive. A car or two went by, both stopping to say hello, so we assumed we were fine to proceed.
The walk up is rather steep, and only when you reach the actual winery do things even out to suddenly reveal one of the most beautiful views you will ever see: the grounds of Rippon Winery. Am I exaggerating? Actually, no.
We entered the winery and marvelled at the minimalistic interiors. There were a couple of rooms that we couldn’t nosy around in as they were setting up for a wedding, and honestly I decided then and there that it would be my dream venue – despite being a tad far away from home…
Next we moseyed on through to the tasting room, and though they had just started one spiel, they were incredibly welcoming and invited us to join them. This room is gorgeous; it’s all wooden beams and ginormous windows which look out onto the Lake and allow for the glorious sunshine to seep through. The perfect spot for a little vino.
I won’t lie and try to make out that I am some sort wine connoisseur because that is so far from the truth. All I can tell you is that the wine was deeeelish. So much so, that we snapped up a bottle of our favourite one from the tasting and ordered a sharing platter for two – that’s right, they even have snacks and some picnic benches for a little a la carte dining.
Stepping outside only enhanced the beauty of the place – they really have chosen the number one spot in New Zealand to set up shop and as luck would have it we managed to get the best seat in the house (in my opinion anyway). I don’t really need to say much more about it, the pictures pretty much prove my point.
It was just one of those magical days. The sun was shining and warm, the wine was chilled, the share-platter was all home grown (organic wild boar sausage, alongside a couple of cheeses and chutneys), the views were like nothing we had ever seen before. We sat for at least an hour, before wandering around the rest of the grounds and eventually making out way back.
On the way back, with the grounds looking even more stunning than before, I remember thinking ‘this is my happy place, this was a truly perfect day and I will never forget it’. It’s not often that we recognise our favourite memories whilst they are happening, but on this occasion, we really did.