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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 28 Mar 2024

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

With more than 40 wineries within 35-minutes drive of the city centre, there’s no denying there’s plenty to see, do and explore in Canberra’s wine region. And while you may have heard of a few of our local legends, what if you want to discover the smaller, boutique cellar doors along the wine trail? Here are some perfect little spots where you can spend some good quality wine time.

A group of friends on a winery tour
The experts:

Van du Vin 

Venturing into Canberra's dynamic wine scene may seem a bit daunting with over 40 wineries within easy reach of the city centre. Thankfully, Van du Vin lends their expertise to help navigate this veritable vineyard wonderland. Van du Vin Canberra winery tours operate around 300 private winery tours a year, all tailored to their guest’s taste in wine. With their seasoned insights, they've crafted a curated selection of six boutique cellar doors, each promising a unique and unforgettable tasting experience.

But as Canberra's wine landscape continues to evolve, so do our recommendations. Which is why we have slipped in a couple more to the list, in addition to Van du Vin’s recommendations. Consider it our way of ensuring your options are as diverse and delightful as the wines themselves.

Van du Vin’s recommendations

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 pouring wine 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 are all topping 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, 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. 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 definitely 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 to try a wine flight to enjoy four wines from their full tasting list or book in for their Winemaker’s Sail tasting—which includes four wines paired alongside four seasonal dishes. The experts recommend 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 followed 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, 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, the Arneis, the Pinot Noir, and the Tempranillo.

Barton Estate

The casual yet knowledgeable 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 the Riesling and Shiraz both 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'll discover an  impressive array of distinctive wines. Standouts include the Sparkling Malbec, the 2012 Synergy Cabernets Merlot, and the Petit Verdot.

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

VisitCanberra’s additions

Two patrons sitting outside at a cellar door with wine and nibbles on a table.

Heywood

Heywood, the home of Nick O'Leary Wines, is located just outside Canberra is the exquisite winery restaurant offering a captivating experience for wine enthusiasts and gastronomy aficionados alike. The newest jewel in Nick O’Leary’s crown, the restaurant embraces the concept of farm-to-table, sourcing the finest local ingredients to pair beautifully with the wines on offer. Heywood is sure to be a haven for wine lovers, offering a unique and immersive experience that showcases the region's rich winemaking heritage.

A group of friends enjoying a picnic outdoors at Poachers Pantry.

Poachers Pantry

Wake up to surreal scenes as dozens of hot air balloons float across the capital each morning during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (9-17 March). Head to Patrick White Lawns behind the National Library of Australia to see the balloons inflate and launch each morning from 6 am (weather permitting). Enjoy a hot breakfast from the food trucks at the launch site, or head to the lake or one of the many vantage spots to watch the balloons float across the sky.

Spectator entry to the Canberra Balloon Spectacular is free. If you would like to enjoy a hot air balloon ride for yourself, book directly with Balloon Aloft. Rides start at $330.

For a unique perspective of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, you can hire a paddleboard or kayak from SUPCBR, or captain your own GoBoat to head out onto Lake Burley Griffin and enjoy the view from the water.

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

A couple are about to cheers red wine glasses on a wine tasting in Canberra

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