If you listen to leading Australian wine writers such as James Halliday and Max Allen, the Canberra district makes shiraz as good as any in the country, whether it’s the deep-rooted vineyards in South Australia’s Barossa Valley or the region’s cool-climate cousins in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.
But the only palate you’ll ever have is the one you were born with, so rather than take the experts’ word for it, why not get out and taste them for yourself?
Many of the region’s vineyards are equipped with top-drawer tasting facilities, and as a great number are within easy reach of the city centre, a cellar-door tour is the perfect way to while away an afternoon.
3 Crisps Ln, Murrumbateman
One of the biggest names in Canberra wine is Clonakilla. It has never wanted for style to match its substance, and the cellar door is no exception. Constructed from stone pulled from the soil of the winery itself, and equipped with built-in spittoons in the tasting room that rinse themselves at the press of a button, it’s the perfect mix of tradition and innovation — much like its signature blend of shiraz and viognier.
19 Butts Rd, Murrumbateman
Ken Helm is one of the pioneers of Canberra’s wine scene, so it’s fitting, perhaps, that his tasting room has a colonial feel. It’s in a heritage-listed schoolhouse which was built in 1888; has study ever been more of a pleasure?
SHAW VINEYARD ESTATE
34 Isabel Dr, Murrumbateman
Graeme and Ann Shaw run this Murrumbateman vineyard with their two children and son-in-law. The spacious cellar door also features a gift shop and a new restaurant on site, Olleyville at Shaw, specialising in rustic dishes made from the bountiful local produce.
7 Murray St, Collector NSW 2581
Set in a storefront built in 1829 in the tiny township of Collector, just north of Lake George, the newish cellar door for this acclaimed winery is all about simple country elegance. Come back when the weather’s cooler to savour a shiraz by the open fire.
Cnr Bungendore & Joe Rocks Rd, Bungendore
Sue and David Carpenter have been making wine here since 1981, and while their reds are very well regarded, in recent years it’s the white wines that have been grabbing the limelight. Get your taste at the Lark Hill cellar door at Murrumbateman, an attractively rustic space in a natural bush setting.
3182 Barton Hwy, Murrumbateman
One of the stars of the newer generation of Canberra wineries, Eden Road is not to be missed. Its cellar door, just south of the village of Murrumbateman, has a lovely outdoor area opening onto its lawns, and is the perfect place to explore Canberra-style Riesling in the sun.
Making a weekend of cellar door hopping just got a whole lot easier! Gone are the days of bickering over who will be the designated driver, because the region now boasts its first rustic, boutique accommodation offering, Abode Murrumbateman.
Book your ultimate foodie’s getaway in February to take advantage of the Abode Murrumbateman opening special, which includes a discounted room rate, a late checkout of 12pm and a bottle of Canberra district wine. Book here!