Ohinemuri Estate winery is changing owners

By Melanie Camoin

New owner of Ohinemuri winery, Chantelle Wheaton. Photo / Melanie Camoin
New owner of Ohinemuri winery, Chantelle Wheaton. Photo / Melanie Camoin

The Karangahake winery estate Ohinemuri Estate is changing hands.

After 28 years of hard work, Horst and Wendy Hillerich have decided to move on to new challenge and have sold the local estate.

New owner Chantelle Wheaton will take charge of the property from June 1.

The Hillerichs say they will carry on the legacy and continue to offer fine wine.

"His (Horst) wines will still be available in the restaurant, the cellar door and by mail order," they said.

Wendy says she will miss the beautiful environment of Karangahake.

"The hills, the mountain ... We also had a great team there and I will miss them," she said.
A former international banker, Ms Wheaton travelled and worked around New Zealand and Australia before buying the winery, needing a change.

"I have been making wine and spirits for the last 30 years for friends and family, and I am passionate about it.

"I also distil wine, making port. So I thought it is time to share this with the wider public," she said.

Her speciality she says, is fruit wines such as feijoa, raspberry, elderberries that she wants to bring to the estate, and some are ready to be bottled.

Chantelle's ambition is to make Ohinemuri Estate the number one restaurant in the area.
"It is already a top class restaurant and we are number two in the Trip Advisor reviews so I want to take it a step higher to be number one.

"Changing the menu, maybe bringing some casual dining, extending opening hours after 5pm ... I want to offer visitors people a whole dinning and wine tasting experience in a unique surrounding." A bed and breakfast could also be an addition to the business.

The winery will still have an imprint from previous owners.

"As you walk through the estate, everything you see shows the love and dedication Horst and Wendy have poured into it. This is their legacy and their passion and I will do all I can to ensure that it continues for years to come."

The Hillerichs plan to stay in the wine industry within the Coromandel area and acquire a new property.

"Of course, we will still be making wine," Wendy said.

- Waihi Leader

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