A parcel of land on the shores of Lake Wanaka, Rippon has been cared for by the Mills family for four generations. It is through the farm’s 15 hectares of vines that the integrity of the land, delivered in its vinous form, is maintained and communicated, fostering a liquid informant of Rippon’s natural and cultured attributes. How quantifiable are these? With the broadest objective lens, there is latitude, metamorphic schist rock, the proximity of the Main Divide, the lake’s thermal mass, the buffering of Ruby Island and Waterfall Creek, and over 50 years of empirical observation and understanding. Look again and find no irrigation, the twisted journey of the vine root, biodynamic preparations, fungus-rich compost, the hand-shake at the start of the day, the cleansing ale at its end. It is of course the relationship between all these things, along with the willing mind to appreciate them, which makes a place...and allows it to find its true voice.
Rippon make around 40 tonnes of compost every year. Their wines are all produced using wild ferments (noninoculated). Both Juenesse and Mature Vine Pinot Noir spend 18 months in barrel and go into bottle without filtering or fining. Their Rieslings & Pinot Noir’s are cellared in bottle for one year before they are released to the market. All Rippon Wines are issued from some of the oldest vines in the region, all from a single Vineyard.
Nick Mills has returned home after several years away, working with the likes of Alain and Sophie Meunier at Domaine JJ Confuron, and Pascal Marchand (late of Domaine Comte Armand and now at Domaine de la Vougeraie). This experience with some of the leading players in Burgundy has fired him with enthusiasm, and we are already seeing the fruits of his experience in the changes in viticulture (to bio-dynamism) and the increased depth of mineral complexity in the wines.