Did you know Canberra has more than 30 cellar doors within 30 minutes of the city centre? Well now you do and you might be wondering which ones to visit. 30 is, after all, quite a lot so whittling down the list to those that offer the best experience is an important task. Here’s a list of our five favourites, just for you.
When CSIRO scientist John Kirk established this vineyard back in 1971 he had no idea it would grow to become one of Australia’s most highly regarded. What started off as a weekend hobby quickly became a full-time business once the label’s now famed Shiraz Viognier hit the market. Visit their stylish new cellar door and try it for yourself.
2. Helm Wines
Ken Helm, also a CSIRO alumnus and one of the region’s earliest vignerons, has been making wine for more than 40 years. His specialty is Riesling and he serves it animatedly from the 1888 refurbished one-teacher schoolhouse that houses his cellar door. His daughter Stephanie also makes sensational wines (in fact, she started doing so when she was 9 years old) which she sells under her own label, The Vitner’s Daughter. You can find her cellar door just down the road.
Its position 860 metres above sea level makes it one of the coolest vineyards in the region, perfect for producing low yield, intensely flavoured wines. There are a lot of varieties on offer here, including the lesser-known Marsanne and Gruner Veltliner. As an added bonus, the winey is biodynamic, meaning each wine contains a low amount of sulphates and is less likely to leave you with a headache the next day.
Winemaker Nick Spencer may be the new kid on the block but he’s certainly making waves – for all the right reasons. In addition to those on the estate vineyard in Murrumbateman, Nick works with grapes from the Tumbarumba and Gundagai regions to allow him to work with a larger range of varietals and terroir. Visit the buzzing cellar door and try the Nebbiolo and hugely popular Long Road Pinot Gris to get an idea of the diversity in the range.
Another high altitude vineyard and an excellent stop on the way to the ski fields, this winery specialises in Spanish varieties, such as Tempranillo and Graciano. You can enjoy excellent cheese plates alongside the wines and follow the gumboot tour nature trail around the vineyard afterwards for a closer look at the vines.