Hospitality Business Magazine

Tantalus Estate goes on the market

One of Auckland’s iconic dining gem’s, complete with award winning wines and outstanding restaurants, Tantalus Estate on Waiheke Island, which has been owned by the Aitken family for the past ten years, is up for sale by tender from 2nd December.

The breathtaking 8.3894ha/20-acre Estate in the heart of the Onetangi Valley is an award-winning premium vineyard destination.  It houses a state-of-the-art winery producing exceptional Bordeaux and Rhône style wines, a boutique craft beer brewery, a bespoke lounge bar and a spectacular world-class 160 seat restaurant.

Majority owner, Bruce Aitken says, “since we purchased this property in 2013, we have taken meticulous care to develop it into the premium and successful establishment that it is today.”

Aitken and his wife travelled extensively overseas and lived in Canada for 20 years before returning to New Zealand in 2013 with their family. Their son Campbell and his wife Carrie found the property, and knew it had outstanding potential and, that it had that real estate gold standard – the perfect location along the Onetangi Miracle Mile.

The family’s intention was to bring all their business savvy and international experience together to create a world class asset and customer experience underpinned by down-to-earth family values and three guiding principles: the exceptional, the bespoke and the hand-crafted.

“Our goal as a family was to bring the ‘wow factor’ to life here. From the moment you drive up to the main gates, you think, ‘wow’.  As you come up the driveway and see the striking Cape Dutch style building and the gardens, we’ve created, you think ‘wow’. As you enter the building and see the bespoke chandeliers created from old sauvignon blanc vines from the estate, you think ‘wow’. And, as you taste the wine and beer that we produce here, as you experience the hospitality and service and as you enjoy a meal in our restaurant, you think ‘wow’,” says Bruce.

Every element of the build at Tantalus Estate has been created to stand apart. The main hospitality building with its iconic bell tower was designed by Cheshire Architects, while the award-winning winery was planned to blend into the hillside of the valley. It makes use of innovative technology so that all stages of production are gravity assisted. It features square wine tanks to save space, and three unusual South American ‘concrete eggs’ help to create Tantalus’s unique expressions of Syrah, Chardonnay and Merlot.

Late summer/ harvest menu by Gideon Landman at Tantalus Estate & Alibi Brewery by food photographer Manja Wachsmuth

Guests can also book out the private and luxuriously appointed ‘Decanter Room’ that features a unique collection of Tantalus cases. A Tantalus – the inspiration for the Estate’s name – is an elegant antique case for glasses and decanters, displaying the best drinks in the house and to keep them secure under key. The keys are a motif that extends to the Tantalus logo.

In recent years, a wetland on the property has been painstakingly and lovingly replanted for future generations, with thousands of native plants and now provides a calm, restful spot to unwind and escape. Thanks to this revival, native birds and wildlife has returned.

The Estate has received multiple awards over the years, most recently winning the Hospitality New Zealand Excellence Awards 2023, Destination of the Year. It is rated as the ‘#1 Things to Do on Waiheke Island’ by Trip Advisor and was named as one of the Top Wineries in New Zealand by the 2023 The Real Review. 

Wine from the Estate has also won numerous awards including Gold and Silver medals in global wine shows, including the International Wine Challenge and the Decanter Asia Wine Awards. It has received Gold star reviews by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Jo Czerwinski and Lisa Perotti-Brown), Bob Campbell MW, Cameron Douglas MS, Michael Cooper, Sam Kim, and WineOrbit’s Candice Chow (along with the late Raymond Chan).

“The sale of a property of this significance rarely comes along and will likely attract attention locally and internationally,” says Matthew Smith of Ray White Waiheke who is managing the sale of the iconic property. The new owner will not only take over a premium piece of real estate but also a thriving business. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that awaits would-be buyers,” says Matthew.

“Making the decision to sell this beautiful and special property has been a difficult one. The last couple of years with the challenges of Covid-19 and the knock-on effects to the hospitality industry have not been easy for our family. It is our hope that Tantalus Estate will go to a new owner who will treasure it as much as we do, taking what we have started here and developing it further so that this unique location remains an icon for Waiheke and the Hauraki Gulf,” concludes Bruce.