The large wine-growing region surrounding Lake George and encompassing Bungendore and Wamboin is blessed with an amazing climate, which results in even more amazing wines!
Mount Majura Vineyard
When they said good things come in small packages, they may have been referring to Mount Majura Vineyard. With the vines covering just nine hectares, this tiny property is located a stone's throw from the centre of Canberra on the red-soil slopes of Mount Majura. Edgar Reik AO, a pioneer of the Canberra wine scene, first identified this parcel of land as ideal for growing grapes and it became the first vineyard within the ACT when it was planted in 1988. Winemaker Frank van de Loo works with all the varieties you’ll find in the region but he also has some Tempranillo and Graciano vines.
Lark Hill Biodynamic Winery
Sue and Dave Carpenter planted their vineyard, Lark Hill Biodynamic Winery, just outside Bungendore in 1978 and in 2006, after three years of transition, had it certified biodynamic. At this vineyard they work with Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Grüner Veltliner (a white grape grown primarily in Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic). In 2011 they bought a second vineyard, where they grow Shiraz, Viognier, Sangiovese, Marsanne and Roussanne, which means they can make some pretty mean blends, including the Exaltation (the collective noun for larks), which blends Shiraz and Sangiovese grapes.
Located at an elevation of 800 metres, Ruth and Steve Lambert’s vineyard, Lambert Vineyards is one of the highest in the district. They make Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling, along with a Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay. At the cellar door you get to try award-winning drops and drink in the views of the vineyard, valley and hills.
Lerida Estate is certainly one for wine-lovers and architecture buffs. Not only do Jim Lumbers and Anne Caine produce an amazing selection of elegant wines, but the winery was designed by Glenn Murcutt, so wherever you are in the building there’s an immediate connection to the landscape. Make sure you take home a couple of bottles of Pinot Noir, as the terroir of the Lake George area suits it perfectly.
Lake George Winery
On the north-west shore of Lake George, Lake George Winery is one of the oldest in the district and a popular wedding venue. It makes just a small amount each of Pinot Noir, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Riesling, Cabernet Merlot, Shiraz and Pinot Noir Rosé, but they can be found at some of Sydney and Melbourne’s leading restaurants.
Winemaking is in the blood at Capital Wines. Andrew McEwin is the great-great-grandson of George McEwin, who was among the first to plant vines in the Adelaide Hills. There’s an old Shiraz vine (a clone of a grape from Penfolds) at the Kyeema Vineyard, on the granite belt of Murrumbateman, while select parcels of grapes are purchased from other Canberra District growers.
It’s a family affair at Tallagandra Hill, where Brad Schafferius makes the wine and Annemaree is the person you’ll meet and talk to at their modern cellar door. They work with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Riesling, Viognier, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay grapes to create their range. Taste the wines, view the work of local artists and tuck in to cakes and scones baked on site.
Little Bridge Wines
What started out as an idea at the pub has turned into a small enterprise for four mates, who now grow fruit at three vineyards for their award-winning Riesling, Pinot Noir and Shiraz as Little Bridge Wines.
Located near Bungendore, Affleck Vineyard is one of the Canberra District’s oldest and smallest wineries. On four hectares Susie and Ian Hendry grow Cabernet, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz and Merlot to make wines that can only be bought direct from them. The cellar door overlooks the stainless-steel vats and inner workings of the winery.