Gibbston’s Kinross has come a long way since its origins as a thriving goldminer’s trading post in the 1860s.
Purchased by its current owners, Christine and John Erkkila in 2013, the site pays tribute to the history and pioneering spirit of original owner Thomas Kinross, while offering an all-round wine experience for both visitors and local people.
Christine and John noticed the lack of accommodation in the area and built seven cottages alongside a 100-year-old orchard. Over the past five years, the business has evolved to include a charming and rustic Bistro, offering locally sourced meals and wine matches, a cosy cellar door, an events space, and a relaxed and sheltered wine garden.
“It’s nice to have these different elements to the business,” says Kinross business development manager, Meg Soper. “People don’t have to stay here, they can come for a meal or a wine tasting in this beautiful setting or they can visit Kinross to take in some live music outdoors when its scheduled.”
The wine garden’s centrepiece is an on-theme, machinery-cum-fireplace that throws out the heat on a winter’s day. A wood-burning pizza oven delivers the goods on weekends, a popular treat for local families who take advantage of the well positioned children’s play area.
The adjacent cellar door has a casual vibe, in contrast to other wine locations in the area. “People can feel intimidated when they enter a cellar door,” says Meg. “But wine is all relative and it’s about different people’s perceptions. We have a cellar door team that hails from some of the best wine regions in the world and visitors really appreciate this combination of knowledge and experience.”
As well as representing a range of excellent local wines – Coal Pit, Domaine Thompson, Hawkshead, Valli and Wild Irishman – Kinross also produces its own wine label which includes Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir vintages.
The four-star cottage-style accommodation has a lot of appeal.
“We’re not trying to be super high-end. The rooms are beautifully appointed and comfortable with amazing beds,” says Meg. “The cottages are popular with people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of town and those wanting to explore the area.”
Extras include a hot tub and a pentaque piste for guests and Kinross also offers the Willow Room event space, which can cater to groups up to 50 people, ideal for weddings, meetings and conferences in a vineyard alpine setting.
Little did Thomas Kinross realise the legacy he would leave when he opened his general store and post office on the site which today, operating as a thriving boutique tourist venture, reflects the same values and sense of hospitality he adhered to.