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Pinot noir, gamay, chardonnay or a good old gewurztraminer… what’s your preference? We’ve got the tips from our local expert winemakers, Nadine Cross of Peregrine Wines in Queenstown and Jo Mills of Rippon in Wānaka

Ah, wine. Who doesn’t love a good glass? We always recommend that visitors stop in to one (or a few) of our beautiful wineries. That’s why we’ve asked Nadine Cross of Peregrine Wines in Queenstown and Jo Mills of Rippon in Wānaka for their top wine tasting tips.

Where should wine lovers go in Queenstown or Wānaka if they’re looking for a casual wine tasting experience?

JM: We’re in NZ, there’s not too much in the way of frills here! That’s the joy of Queenstown, Wānaka and everything in between: there is no pretension, it is casual, no expectation of sniff, swirl & spit. Come and meet us, hear our stories, taste the wines and come away feeling like you know a little bit more – not just about what’s in your glass – but how it got there.

NC: Make an adventure out of it and bike to Gibbston Valley – great wine tasting and you can also check out their new Deli and Cheesery. Then you can head down the valley to Peregrine!

Okay, what if they’re looking for something a little more fancy? A location where they can get a little dressed up?

JM: That’s when you hit the bars! Again, we’re in NZ: if you rock up in a frock or in your stubbies and a singlet, we’ll be happy to see you and we always love a bit of glam! Visit a winery, buy a few of your favourite bottles, get your glad rags on and then sit atop your favourite peak or on your favourite beach and carry on the party!

NC: Head to the Maude Wines Tasting Room in Wānaka, and make sure you try their Reserve range of wines (you can go casual too!)


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Is there a winery off-the-beaten track that everyone should visit at least once?

JM: If I told you, I’d have to kill you… That said, Mt Edward on Coalpit Road is a fantastic spot and the team there are always good for a yarn. Rippon is off the main road (though it’s the beaten track to Mt Roy); Maude is off the main road and has a glorious outlook. Do one, roll to the other – they both merit at least a single visit.

NC: Yes, Domaine Rewa – lovely people, great wines, and amazing pots!


What do you pay the most attention to when tasting wine?

JM: Its story. I don’t want to be told what to taste – it’s so subjective anyway – I want to know where it’s from and  how it came to being. How does it feel? How does it make me feel? Where is its home?

NC: The aromatics, they tell you a lot about a wine. Also, the friends you are drinking it with, wines taste much better when you are sharing them!

Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay or a good old Gewurztraminer what’s your preference?  

JM: That’s like trying to choose a single musician or a single movie! Seriously, wine is about context and about mood. What do you feel like that night? What are you eating? Who are you with? What’s the music? How’s the weather? Some of the best wine experiences of my life haven’t been the “serious” ones, they’ve been those nights when it’s late, you have Neil Young on the record player, it’s a beautiful night, you’re already a couple of bottles down with a group of friends and you pull out something tasty and drink it under duvets, looking up at the sky. It’s a thing. Do it. If the wine is good, the music is good and the company is excellent, you’re not going to worry about the variety on the bottle!

NC: I love making and drinking Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Which bottle from your winery would you recommend taking home?

JM: As above. But, as a secret weapon, I’d probably say our Osteiner. Only 2 hectares of it are known to be planted in the world and we are the only ones whom we know to be bottling it as a single variety wine. It’s rare, it’s yummy and it’s only found in Wānaka.

NC: Peregrine 2017 Pinot Noir, it’s a beautiful wine!

Nadine Cross is the winemaker at Peregrine Wines in Queenstown. Jo Mills is the winemaker at Rippon in Wānaka.

Check out wine tasting in Wānaka at locations like Rippon, Maude Tasting Room and Aitken’s Folly.