Escape the mainland and discover an enchanted Sonoma-style winery.
It's little wonder why Tantalus has become the new must-visit estate on Waiheke Island.
Upon arrival, it's hard not to be captivated by the Onetangi Valley vista alone. Sprawling panoramas and wide-open spaces flooded with light, lead out to a courtyard dotted with clean and classic features and bountiful Côtes du Rhône-style grape varieties.
Sitting proudly on eight hectares of unspoiled land, the estate uses the best of that unmatched Waiheke Island sun, made even more striking with the ornate and decorative lights, crafted from the estate's own repurposed vines, that hang dramatically overhead.
Tantalus' sense of calm is reaffirmed through their well-informed and attentive staff. Lunch gets off to a festive start with the Tantalus Methode Traditionelle Brut NV matched perfectly with the 90 Degree Steamed Tiger Prawns with Wasabi Mole, Black Garlic, Breakfast Radish, Shaved Corn, Popped Muesli and Yuzu.
To start, Te Kouma Oysters, each as plush and pillowy as the next, are presented fresh and adorned with flowers. The Grilled Market Fish and Cured Ora King Salmon is well suited with the Tantalus Rosé – subtle and subdued. The estate's head chef, Paul Jobin, has led kitchens in Australia, Manhattan, Long Island, Bratislava and Prague, and spearheads the acclaimed local restaurant Pure Tastes, a culinary drawcard in the sunny Bay of Islands.
On a clear Saturday afternoon, you can expect to see a chopper or two land on site, just in time for an indulgent long lunch. Owner Carrie Mendell tells us that they're working on catering for the dinner crowd and further extending their beverage offerings with Alibi – a craft beer bar and brewery – currently in the works beneath the restaurant.
The charm here can be credited to its use of space, something made achievable when Carrie and her partner Campbell decided to elevate the main hub of the estate up a storey, to use the sun and reaffirm the restaurant's indoor-outdoor flow. Carrie and Campbell originally purchased the property in 2013, with plans to open a casual-cool craft beer brewery. The planning and architectural design is credit to Cheshire Architects, with the construction team from WG de Grouchy behind the estate's extensive renovations.
After a long lunch grazing on crisp, seasonal seafood dishes, Waiheke Island has never looked quite as good as it does from Tantalus.
70 – 72 Onetangi Road,
Onetangi, Waiheke Island,
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 11am until 4pm.