You may not have visited the ACT since primary school— you likely haven’t had a reason to. But I’m here to tell you that the food scene and drink scene in Canberra is buzzing. More specifically, Canberra’s own Wine Region, located just north of the ACT is doing some special things for Australian wine.
While tasting wine may not be the first thing you think of when Canberra is mentioned, this small region is punching well above its weight. With 28 wineries offering wine tastings at their Cellar Door, Canberra is a worthy contender for a weekend away compared to the similarly distanced Orange or Mudgee, at just 3.5 hours drive from Sydney.
The 10 Best Cellar Doors in Canberra
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting quite a few of Canberra’s wineries, and from those visits i’ve selected a 10 recommendations and included links to book your tasting experience through Door Explorer. Each winery offers its own unique atmosphere, from stunning views to delicious cheese boards.
For those who appreciate brevity, here’s a TL;DR. For a more detailed version, scroll down to the section below:
- Clonakilla – for beautiful views, great wine & a cheese board.
- Helm Wines – a modern cellar door, with great views over their vineyard
- Shaw Wines – great wine, panoramic views
- Four Winds Vineyard – old-school Canberra wine, visit for their fortified’s & port
- Mount Majura Vineyard – sit outside, enjoy the Riesling & Shiraz
- Collector Wines – picturesque, sit on the lawn, enjoy some food
- Brindabella Hills Winery – a wide range, large venue
- Eden Road Wines – French-style wines, small venue
- Lark Hill – Italian style wines, beautiful views
- Contentious Character – A must-visit if you love big reds. This is the Canberra home of this Canberra staple.
What Wine is Canberra best known for?
The region’s cool climate and diverse soils make it ideal for growing a range of grape varieties, resulting in a diverse selection of high-quality wines.
Canberra is best known for producing a variety of wine styles, including Shiraz, Riesling, and Pinot Noir.
- Shiraz – rich, full-bodied, and fruit-forward styles of Shiraz, with spicy and berry flavours and good acidity, making it a balanced and satisfying wine.
- Riesling – deep color, rich and full-bodied flavour profile, strong tannin structure, and high complexity, with bright fruit flavours of citrus and floral notes.
- Pinot Noir – a rich and complex flavour profile, with crisp acidity and full body, intense fruit flavours of cherry, raspberry, and hints of earthy notes, and a balanced oak influence.
- Chardonnay – a bright, citrusy white wine with crisp acidity and good aging potential, known for its ability to develop complex flavours over time, including nutty and honeyed notes.
The 10 Best Wineries in the Canberra District
Canberra, Australia’s capital city, is not just known for its political prowess but also for its burgeoning wine scene. The Canberra District is home to some of the country’s most exciting wineries, offering a diverse range of cool-climate wines. Here, we explore some of the best wineries in the Canberra District that you should consider for your next wine-tasting adventure.
Recognised as one of Australia’s best wineries, Clonakilla is a must-visit for any wine enthusiast. Located just a 30-minute drive from Canberra, this winery is renowned for its award-winning Shiraz. The Kirk family has built a state-of-the-art cellar door using local stone and reclaimed timbers, offering visitors a chance to taste some of the best Shiraz the region has to offer.
2. Helm Wines
Established as one of the first commercial wineries in the ACT wine region, Helm Wines is a beloved destination among the Canberra wine community. The winery is well-known for its Rieslings and Cabernet Sauvignon. The cellar door, located in the National Trust listed Toual Public Schoolhouse, offers an educational and entertaining wine tasting experience.
3. Shaw Wines
With a beautiful building and a chic cellar door, Shaw Wines is one of the most visually appealing wineries in the region. This winery offers an indulgent experience for both your tastebuds and your senses. It’s a place you’ll want to revisit time and again.
4. Four Winds Vineyard
Not only is Four Winds Vineyard one of the best wineries near Canberra, but it’s also home to some of the best-tasting pizza in the region. It’s the perfect destination for a long, lazy lunch with friends. From the moment you arrive, you’ll feel welcome and, of course, the wines are exceptional.
5. Mount Majura Vineyard
Located at the top of Majura Valley, just outside of Canberra, Mount Majura Vineyard offers wine tastings directly below their very own vineyards. The winery is known for its famous Tempranillo and offers a range of other wine varieties. They also offer a wine club with exclusive offers and discounts for their divine drops.
6. Collector Wines
At Collector Wines, you can sample award-winning Shiraz and Chardonnay near a roaring fire at their beautiful cellar door. For something different, try a Veltliner, Marsanne, Riesling or Sangiovese.
7. Brindabella Hills Winery
Encircled by the rocky hills of the Brindabellas, Brindabella Hills Winery is planted in the perfect environment to grow excellent table wines. The Chardonnay and Shiraz have both won national trophies, and the winery’s café offers delicious tasting plates and refined meals.
8. Eden Road Wines
With a diverse range of cool-climate wines available, a tasting at Eden Road Wines is a special experience. The vineyard sources its grapes from Gundagai and Tumbarumba. From the tree-lined arrival to the refined glassware in the tasting room, Eden Road Wines offers a unique wine tasting experience. Don’t miss the Nebbiolo and Long Road Pinot Gris.
9. Lark Hill
Specialising in organic, biodynamic wine production, Lark Hill offers a unique wine tasting experience. The wine bar and café is open for weekend lunches, and guests can indulge in a tasting that allows comparisons between old and new vintages of the same wine. Be sure to sample the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling varieties.
10. Contentious Character
Located in the hills of Wamboin, NSW, Contentious Character Winery is about 30km out of Canberra city and a spot not to be missed when you visit the region. You’ll recognise them for their quirky wine labels, but it’s a really great spot to stop for lunch too.
Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or a novice looking to expand your palate, the Canberra District offers a wealth of wineries to explore. From award-winning Shiraz to unique cool-climate varieties, there’s something for every wine lover in this region.