Horst and Wendy Hillerich bought their Karangahake property in 1989, with the intention of establishing their own Boutique Winery and Restaurant.
German born, Horst, trained in the Rheingau region of Germany. He studied further in Wurzberg and worked in different regions of Germany and Switzerland before coming to New Zealand for a five week holiday in 1987!
Something about the country held his attention, as he forwent his return ticket and took up residence.
He met Wendy in 1988 and a year later they discovered their property in the beautiful Karangahake Gorge. They began winemaking immediately in the garage on the property and converted the hayloft into their tasting room. This opened to the public in December 1990. In 1993 the winery was built. The restaurant was also opened in the same year in what had previously been the horse stables. The accommodation was developed in the original tasting area and had its first occupants staying on the first day of this millennium.
Nestled high above the Ohinemuri River the buildings were designed and built in Latvian style by Englishman, Nick Frost. Nick had done a work exchange with the Moscow Opera, whilst working as a set designer at Covent Garden in London and spent some of that time in Latvia. Being only 200m off the main highway the Estate is easily accessible but distant enough to be quiet and relaxing.
Horst, Wendy and their two children have created a tranquil haven, where they invite you to enjoy their wines, sample their food and spend some time in the wonderful Karangahake Gorge, which is famed for its history, walking tracks, the Hauraki Rail Trail and sheer beauty.
The Winery Restaurant is housed in the original stables. The old timbers have been retained and the atmosphere is intimate and relaxing. A feature of the restaurant is the courtyard dining area , a little enclave in a garden setting. In summertime a classical guitarist plays in this area on sunny Sundays. Local artists also exhibit their work at the restaurant. In winter the open fire warms the atmosphere.
The winery restaurant offers a wonderful range of inspirational fresh seasonal food. Everything is made on the premises. All the herbs and many of the vegetables are organically grown in the winery garden or sourced locally.
The menu features popular platters, seafood, soups, vegetarian dishes, brunch and wholesome meals for the hungry. The menu changes frequently to match the seasons. Delicious desserts round off the experience. Of course the food is designed to complement the range of wines. Much of the produce is also available in the winery shop.
There is a loft apartment available on the property. It sleeps four people and is situated in the original hayloft.
There is a large studio area, which has a queen sized bed, a couch, a kitchenette and dining area. Off this room is a bedroom with two single beds and a bathroom.
The location is quiet and tranquil and the restaurant is handy if your break does not include cooking. All meals are available by arrangement from the restaurant.