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Four friends at a winery with a view of the mountains

The best boutique Canberra wine region cellar doors (according to the experts)

Updated 1 Sep 2023

Want to stop and smell the rosé but not sure where to go? We have you sorted.

With more than 40 wineries, there’s no denying there’s plenty to see, do and taste in Canberra’s wine region. And while you may have heard of a few of our local legends, what if you want to explore the smaller, boutique cellar doors?

Luckily for you, we asked the experts where you can spend some good quality wine time.

A group of friends on a winery tour
The experts:

Van du Vin 

Van du Vin Canberra winery tours operate around 300 private winery tours a year, all tailored to their guest’s taste in wine—and with plenty of experience exploring the region’s best cellar doors they’ve created a list of the “must-visit” boutique offerings.

All based on feedback from their guests, here are five of the best boutique cellar doors in the region—and trust us when we say Van du Vin left no wine behind.

Gallagher Wines

This family-run and owned cellar door creates delicious traditional cool climate wines as well as on-site-made cheese and preserves (yes, really). Greg Gallagher OAM has been making wine for over 40 years, and if you decide to pop in for a taste, you’ll most likely find him with his daughter Lauren—who also makes wine at Gallagher—and wife Libby (who makes the cheeses and preserves).

And while Gallagher Wines is known for some serious wines, what makes it extra special for visitors is the casual and fun atmosphere. But what are the wines you need to try when visiting? The Blanc de Blanc, Riesling, Sangiovese Rosé and Shiraz top the list.

McKeller Ridge

Never heard of McKeller Ridge? This cellar door is recognised for its premium wines, representative of the elegant cool climate wines Canberra is known for.

After a change of career five years ago, owners, viticulturists, and winemakers John and Marina are at the cellar door each weekend pouring their award-winning wines.

Known as lovely people whose passion for wine is infectious, they also have a knack for simply explaining the wine-making process as well as the differences between the wines. According to VAN DU VIN, the standouts at this cellar door are the Sauvignon Blanc, the Trio (Bordeaux blend Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot), and the Shiraz Viognier.

Yarrh Wines

Yarrh Wines is a delightful winery only 10 minutes from Murrumbateman village—and according to the experts, it’s worth the short drive.

With scenic views out west towards Yass, winemaker Fiona and grape grower husband Neil work together to create low-intervention wines that express their vintage, location, and variety. But the best part of Yarrh Wines is its range of tasting options.

Choose from the standard wine flight tasting to enjoy four wines from their full tasting list or book in for their Winemaker’s Sail tasting—which includes four wines paired with four seasonal dishes. VAN DU VIN recommends putting your glass out for the Riesling, Pet Nat, Sangiovese, and Shiraz. We’ll say cheers to that.

The Vintner’s Daughter

With stunning views and famous neighbours (ever heard of Clonakilla wines?), The Vinter’s Daughter is known for their Riesling, sparkling Malbec, 2012 Synergy Cabernets Merlot, and Petit Verdot.

Family-owned and operated by husband-wife duo winemaker Steph Helm and vigneron Ben Osbourne, the entire process is controlled on site—from vine to glass. And as the daughter of Ken Helm from Helm wines, Steph has been making wine before she was old enough to drink it, so she knows a good drop or two.

Pankhurst

Located just outside the Canberra border, according to Van du Vin guests, Pankhurst has a great range of quality wines available—and some of the best views of any cellar door in the region.

Book in to join owners and viticulturists Allan and Christine as they take you through several estate-grown wines of various varieties and vintages. And with over 30 years of experience, they have plenty of knowledge and stories to share.

Since you’re already there, you might as well try their four standout wines: the Marsanne, Arneis, Pinot Noir, and the Tempranillo.

Barton Estate

The casual yet informative wine tastings at Barton Estate are a part of local history: in the long-running tradition of CSIRO scientists making wine in Canberra (pioneers of the Canberra wine region Dr John Kirk, Dr Edgar Riek and Ken Helm worked at the CSIRO), Bob and Julie started this cellar door in 1997.

And with Riesling and Shiraz named after their children, it’s very much a family affair as they welcome you into their home and introduce you to the friendly cellar door dogs.

At Barton Estate you can find some unique wines (such as Sparkling Malbec and Petit Verdot) but the standouts include Riesling, Sparkling Malbec, 2012 Synergy Cabernets Merlot, and Petit Verdot.

Name a better way to spend a day than sipping on super-premium wines? You can’t.

Want more advice from the experts? Hop on a winery tour

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