The Canberra District Wine Week 2021, running 20 to 29 March, is your chance to discover just why the region’s wines are so good. Events range from wine dinners and cellar door museum wine tastings to grape stomping, art exhibitions, musical soirees and blending your own wines to barrel tastings. And all topped off with delicious food matched to amazing wine.
Highlights include the annual tasting launch event on Saturday 20 March featuring 16 wineries at the ANU’s Kambri Precinct and a 50 Years of Canberra Wine dinner at The Boathouse, featuring the premium wines of Clonakilla and winemaker Tim Kirk.
Intrigued to know more about Canberra District wines? Read on for more.
The first vines were planted in the Canberra District in the 1840s
Like many other small Australian wine regions, the industry went into decline for several decades from the turn of the 20th Century, re-emerging in the 1970s thanks to some CSIRO scientists.
Vineyards and wineries around Canberra
Our district, which spreads across Canberra, Hall, Murrumbateman, Yass, Bungendore, Lake George, Wamboin, Gundaroo and Collector has grown considerably over the past 50 years. There are now around 140 vineyards with about 450 hectares under vine, and more than 40 cellar doors.
The Canberra District has three distinct wine regions
Yes, that means you’ll need at least three days to sample the delights of each region. The Canberra District covers a large geographical area made up of three distinctly topographical areas. Despite the name all but two of the local wineries are located in NSW but each is within a 35-minute drive from Canberra’s city centre.
Region 1: Murrumbateman and Yass
A pleasant 30-minute drive along the Barton Highway brings you to picturesque Murrumbateman, a former gold mining town, where you can enjoy rural scenery, soak up the ambience of village life and sample delicious regional produce at cosy cafes and old school pubs. The town of Murrumbateman is home to around 15 wineries, where wines of international acclaim are crafted. Cellar doors range from delightfully rustic family affairs to sleek and modern and all shades of in between, each offering you a very warm welcome.
Yass Valley is bursting with wonderful food and wine experiences. With a proud heritage connection to early rural Australia, a modern and well-renowned food and wine scene, a thriving arts scene and boutique shopping, touring around Yass Valley is an experience not to be missed.
Region 2: Canberra and Hall
Mount Majura Vineyard is one winery situated within the ACT border, on Majura Road, past the Canberra Airport. Our second ACT winery, Pialligo Estate, is just minutes from Canberra CBD, and nestled in a private and peaceful setting not far from the madding crowd.
No more than 15 minutes’ drive from Canberra’s city centre are the Hills of Hall cellar doors, offering high-quality wines and great views of the mountainous skyline, showcasing why Canberra has been aptly named the Bush Capital. The wineries in the rolling hills of Hall provide magnificent vistas of the Brindabella Mountains, making them the perfect place to relax with a glass of wine, a plate of local produce to take in the majestic surrounds.
Region 3: Bungendore, Wamboin, Gundaroo, Lake George and Collector
Along the Federal Highway to the north of Canberra, the Lake George vignerons tend to their cool-climate vineyards and wines. There are a number of award-winning restaurants and great wine bars in and around the historic villages of Gundaroo and Collector, where you can relax and meet the locals. The high altitude wineries around the historic town of Bungendore and Wamboin offer beautiful scenic outlooks, to be admired as you sample some of the coolest of the cool climate wines and enjoy fine dining at cellar door restaurants.
How you can sleep close to the vines
Aside from a range of options in Canberra, you can stay closer to the vines at places like Abode Murrumbateman, at a vineyard cottage at Tallagandra Hills Winery that overlooks the vines or at the Little George tiny house at Lake George Winery. And, of course, there’s plenty of bed and breakfast and country pubs in the towns surrounding Canberra.