Thursday, December 16, 2010
Staying in Style - Peppertree Lodge
Blenheim's Peppertree Lodge is named after the Pepper trees (Schinus molle) that line the driveway to this lovely Edwardian villa. Built in 1901, it sits back from the road at the south entrance to Blenheim, surrounded by waves of grapevines that have made the region famous.
I called into the Peppertree on my recent travels, to chat with owners, Werner and Heidi. It was mid-winter but the Peppertree was warm and inviting, each of its five guest rooms glowing. The home is set on 10acres and since settling in New Zealand, Swiss businessman Werner, has studied viticulture and now tends his own tiny boutique winery and olive grove at the front of the property. The large gardens are filled with large vegetable gardens and orchards, a small selection of cows and sheep; and together, Werner and Heidi produce their own olive oil, wine and assorted preserves. Each vintage of their Peppertree Chardonnay is labelled with distinctive labels, produced by leading local and New Zealand artists including Wellington's Michael Fowler and Blenheim artists, Clarry Neam and Betty Eaton.
Heidi has a background in hotel management and airline service in Switzerland and given that she and Werner have travelled extensively themselves, they know just when to leave their guests alone. Each of their five rooms is a large private retreat and guests have individual views into different parts of the garden. My pick is the large William Morris room (above), which features William Morris fabrics and a large bathroom, complete with clawfoot bath and a separate fireplace. And personally, I can't imagine anything nicer than stretching out in that bath with a good book and a glass of house Chardonnay, with the fireplace crackling a few feet away. www.thepeppertree.co.nz