Ronnie Chiu: wine, food and art in New Zealand

Ronnie Chiu was born in Hong Kong but grew up in New Zealand. He moved to the UK some 15 years ago and became a lawyer. But a childhood fascination with his dapper father’s style nagged away at him until in 2019 he made the leap and started his own collection of knitwear. Today Ronnie still has a couple of his father’s wardrobe knits, made from Scottish pure virgin wool, and his label, Colhay’s, aims to replicate that quality with a more youthful take on design. Though now a London resident, Ronnie likes to go home to the North Island of New Zealand when he can, and when he does, he is sure to visit the Glass House restaurant at the Brick Bay Wines and Sculpture Trail

The Glass House is, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere, nestled in a beautiful hillside vineyard and farmland. The whole restaurant is made of glass so you get all of the sunlight streaming through while enjoying a glass of wine and a meal, overlooking a lake. It’s really quite stunning.

Brick Bay itself is a winery, not a very big one, unlike the ones you’ll find in key regions of New Zealand like Marlborough or Central Otago, so it isn’t very busy. It is also the start of the Sculpture Trail, which is an exhibition of the work of celebrated New Zealand artists, displayed throughout a nature walk that winds through a valley. Here, you’ll get to hear the chirping of plenty of native birds such as the tūī. 

The winery and Sculpture Trail is only about an hour’s drive north of Auckland, where I grew up, so it is easy for us Aucklanders to get to, and would be for visitors using the city as a base. What’s great is that you get a taste of all of the best bits of the authentic kiwi lifestyle in a day trip. You can head south after visiting Brick Bay to Snells Beach which is fantastic in the summer – golden sand and excellent shallow-water swimming.

www.brickbay.co.nz/restaurant; colhays.com

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