Waiheke’s Tantalus Estate, the ultimate lifestyle property

A winery, a brewery and a restaurant all on offer

1 February 2024

A rare opportunity has come up to own an award-winning winery on Waiheke Island which comes complete with a 160-seater restaurant and event venue, craft beer brewery, winery and vineyard.

It’s up to you how you could use the 8 hectare Tantalus Estate at 70-72 Onetangi Road. You could build a beautiful home on the property in an elevated spot so you could take in the valley views and outsource the running of the winery to one of the neighbours in the Onetangi wine valley – red wine specialist Stonyridge, Te Motu, Postage Stamp or Soho for instance.

“Stephen White from Stonyridge has created a name for Waiheke wines in Onetangi Valley, for which I’ll always be grateful,” says Tantalus Estate owner, Bruce Aitken.

Or the new owner could run the estate purely as a wedding and event venue and again outsource the vineyard/winery/brewery.

“As a wedding venue it’s beautiful. You could do very well just concentrating on that,” says Ray White Waiheke agent Matthew Smith who is marketing the property.

The estate might appeal to a well known Aotearoa wine brand which wants to have a vineyard on Waiheke, just as they have in Marlborough, Hawkes Bay or Central Otago, he adds.

The Tantalus Estate vineyard produces Bordeaux and Rhône-style wines and has one block planted with a Cabernet Sauvignon clone dating back to 1887. It has Syrah, Chardonnay and Merlot grapes.

There have been some nibbles from a few winery names, says Matthew. The estate could also be like a mini-Ayrburn, the luxury food and wine destination recently opened in Arrowtown, he suggests.

Another option to consider would be to lease the restaurant out to an operator and keep running the winery, which has some innovative high tech equipment. The owners have invested in square stainless steel wine tanks from Canada which are very efficient, and they have concrete eggs for their chardonnay and pinot gris, the egg shape keeping the juice in circulation, which maximises the flavour.

“We like for things to be a little bit different and unique,” says Bruce.

A vision to create the wow factor

The Aitken family bought the property in 2013, creating the Tantalus Estate brand, a tantalus is an elegant antique case for keeping the best drinks in the house under lock and key, secure from those who like a tipple or two.

They put the restaurant, the Alibi brewery and bar and decanter room in a beautiful building designed by respected Auckland architect, Nat Cheshire of Cheshire Architects, the man behind Britomart.

Why would you sell this piece of paradise? The Aitkens created the estate to be a legacy property ten years ago, but family priorities have changed. They’re proud of what they’ve achieved.

Bruce, whose son and daughter-in-law, Campbell and Carrie, have run the estate these past few years says: “We set out to create the wow factor at every step of the customer experience, the wine, the beer, the food, we’re very focused on giving a customer a great experience so they’ll tell their friends and come back.”

“If you want a property and a brand that draws people in and impresses, it’s very much a candidate for that,” says Bruce.

“I’ve always felt that first impressions are so important. We make an impression as you come to the property, from the road, with an interesting building to look at as you drive up the driveway, then the vineyards all around.”

Bruce’s pride and joy at the estate are the wetlands he’s brought back to life at the property with his wife. Over the years, they have taken out all the exotic plants replacing them with around 5,000 or 6,000 native plants and trees, and they’ve built surrounding boardwalks. “It’s so rewarding to see the wetlands come back to life, you see the birds returning, it gives you a great sense of encouragement,” says the vendor.

“The family has seen ruru (Morepork) and a lot more kākā among other native birds at the estate which has olives, macadamia nuts and honey harvested from mānuka trees.

In the past year the owners have put in a four bedroom, two bathroom Nook Homes house for the staff. This home, within the estate, could be also used as a holiday accommodation, says Matthew.

The estate employs between 70 and 100 staff and a message to any new owner, is that the staff want to stay, so the buyer could be taking on a going concern.

However you decide to use Tantalus Estate, it’s well situated so you can come and go as you please. Just a short drive from Kennedy Point car ferry and 15 minutes from the passenger ferry at Matiatia Ferry Terminal, the property also has a helipad if you’re in a hurry.

Waiheke Island has been through quite a transition in the past few years, says Bruce.

“It’s an interesting community, very vibrant, with a mix of young and old, wealthy and not so wealthy, it’s nice.”

“As a way of life, I don’t think you miss out on anything from the point of view of not living in the big city, you gain the tranquillity of idyllic surroundings. It’s a very nice place, you could be very happy here,” says the vendor.

The tender date for the sale of the estate is February 15.


Gill South
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