Who doesn’t love venturing to a local winery, sampling artisan wines and soaking up stunning scenery?
If you’re looking to visit one of the 30 plus wineries dotted in the Canberra region, you’ll want to plan to make your day truly delightful. Not all local wineries offer the same type or level of services. Some, for example, offer tours, some wine tastings, and some dining services. Be sure to check opening days and times. The Canberra District Wines website is a great way to plan your trip.
In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a local winery to visit, and share where to find the best in Canberra.
READ ALSO: Canberra Day Trips: Dine among the vines
What makes a great winery?
Choosing the right winery to visit starts with answering ‘why’. Do you want a relaxing day out? Are you celebrating a special occasion? Are you looking to wine and dine? Do you want to visit just one winery or several in one area? Do you want to explore a larger, more established winery or a newer boutique one?
It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a winery.
- Excellent wine. If you prefer a certain type or style of wine, check first if the winery offers it. You might also want a winery that creates unique varietals you’ve never had before.
- Picturesque scenery. Gorgeous scenery can take your trip to a local winery to a whole new level, especially if you’re keen on a picnic or a wander through the vineyards.
- A well-stocked cellar door. If you’ve fallen in love with a wine you’ve tasted, you’ll probably want to buy a bottle or two, supporting the winery in the process. Check what cellar door services the winery offers before heading out.
- A great restaurant or café. If you’re looking to eat and try wines, research what dining services the winery offers, remembering that some only operate cellar doors, not cafes or restaurants. Bookings are often essential.
- Knowledgeable and friendly staff. Whether you’d like a tour of the winery or just want to chat about how wines are produced, staff should be knowledgeable, friendly and keen to help out.
The best wineries around Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Established in 1997, Yarrh Wines is 45 minutes from Canberra. All wines are made from the vineyard and bottled on site, including a unique range of reds and whites. The winery has spectacular panoramic views of the Yass River Valley. The cellar door offers a range of tasting experiences, including wine flights, gourmet food and wine matching, and tours.
Peter Little wrote on Google, “Peaceful lovely rolling hills. Excellent wine cellar off the beaten track. Worth a visit …”
The Wily Trout Vineyard is part of Poachers Pantry, which operates the Smokehouse restaurant, farm shop and cellar door (featuring cool-climate wines). The cafe and cellar are in a farmhouse with lush garden views. Dishes are crafted with smoked meats. Wine tastings cover the vineyard’s full range of wines. Poachers Pantry is in Springrange, about 25 minutes from Canberra city.
Skye Murphy wrote on Google, “Delish food and wines to match. Happy, happy customers!”
McKellar Ridge Estate is a boutique winery and vineyard producing premium handcrafted wines exhibiting the unique characteristics of the Canberra cool-climate region. Cellar door tastings are available, including Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz Viognier, Shiraz and Trio. Visitors can buy wine on site.
Sam Lorkin wrote on Google, “The service and wine at McKellar Ridge is great! I have come here multiple times, everyone is always so friendly, helpful and knowledgeable when making any selections and sampling the variety of wines on offer.”
Established in 1971, Lake George Winery is one of Canberra’s first wineries. Family owned and operated, this beautiful winery is located on Lake George, 700 metres above seal level. Cool-climate, award-winning wines are produced with minimal interference. Grapes are hand-picked and wine is vegan friendly. The winery operates a restaurant, cellar door and has a sustainable tiny house for accommodation.
On Google, Jenni Schilling wrote, “Had the most amazing three-course lunch with their beautiful wines … Support Australian owned!”
Brindabella Hills Winery in Hall is set among the rolling hills overlooking the picturesque Murrumbidgee River, 25 minutes from Canberra. Boutique wines include Chardonnay, Shiraz, Riesling, Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon. The Vineyard Café offers grazing packages, matched with wines. Cellar door tastings are on weekends.
On Google, Rodney Gallegos wrote, “Top service, couldn’t do enough for us, best food, excellent chef, wine is also one of the best, view to die for, worth the drive, a great day had by all.”
Making great wine and wood-fired pizzas drives the team at Four Winds Vineyard. This inter-generational family business grows grapes, creates wines and has a Cellar Door oisite. Four Winds Vineyard has won multiple awards since it planted the vineyard in 1998. It’s located in Murrumbateman and creates Shiraz, Riesling, Cabernet, Merlot and Sangiovese.
On Google, Carman Skeehan wrote, “The winery is beautiful indoors and outdoors. Our group enjoyed how the tasting is by range or choice.”
Lerida Estate, in the Cullerin Range, is a short 30-minute drive from Canberra. The estate produces unique, cool-climate wines made from Pinot Noir, Cardonnay, Shiraz, Reisling and more. Enjoy lunch among the grapevines at the café. Visit the Cellar Door for tastings and to buy wines.
Jane Lavelle wrote on Google, “Beautiful cellar door that is clean, inviting and has a great view … We also enjoyed lunch at the restaurant.”
Lark Hill Winery, near Bungendore, specialises in biodynamic wines from the Canberra District, including Reisling, Gruner Veltliner, Viognier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This family owned and run estate operates a cellar door in the stone-walled building that housed the original winery, complete with fireplace. Lark Hill has partnered with D&K Kitchen to offer guests lunch and dinner.
On Google, Susan Heath wrote, “Great service, atmosphere and top-of-the-range fresh locally sourced food. Great experience. We can’t wait to go back.”
If you’re looking for more information on day trips out of the capital, you might like our article on the best day trips Canberra has to offer. Or, if you’re looking for more on trips around the region, check out our stories on the best beaches near Canberra, best hotels and resorts on the South Coast, best restaurants and bars on the South Coast, our list of things to do on the South Coast.
Your experience with wineries in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the wineries listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.