The stunningly beautiful Rippon Vineyard is situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka, with views across the lake to Ruby Island and the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Buchanan Mountains. One of Central Otago's oldest vineyards, it is also one of the highest at 330 metres above sea level, with an 1800-metre mountain as a backdrop.
Lois and the late Rolfe Mills were among Central Otago's earliest viticulture pioneers. Rolfe, who died in 2000, planted the first experimental range of vines in 1974, and now the vineyard has been producing award-winning wines for over 30 years.
Today, Rippon Vineyard is run by Lois Mills with her son, Nick, as winemaker. Nick is a proponent of the biodynamic approach to viticulture. Wine writer Keith Stewart put it thus: "This is the sort of wine that makes the back of your neck hum."
Son of Central Otago viticulture pioneers Rolfe and Lois Mills, Nick was born around the same time as his parents' first plantings at Rippon and is part of the fourth generation on the 100-year-old family farm. Whilst he grew up in the vines, Nick was distracted by studies in philosophy, competitive skiing, and the general mountain environment before fully directing his focus to winegrowing in Burgundy.
He completed the BP-REA in Viticulture and Oenology (CFPPA de Beaune), and undertook a course in biodynamic winegrowing with the GJPV (Young Winegrowers Association of Burgundy) and worked in several of the region's most esteemed domaines.
He returned to Rippon in 2002 to take over his late father's role and now finds himself in the happy position of working with his family, together with mature, own-rooted vines, a truly great vineyard team and a very special piece of land.
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