The best wineries in Canberra

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Lerida Estate, one of Canberra’s best wineries. Photo: Lerida Estate.

As one of the states most revered cold-climate wine producers, the Canberra district is home to an eclectic ensemble of artisanal winemakers. Brimming with picturesque vineyards enveloping hill to hill, this melting pot of regional blends has attracted attention far and wide.

With a production slate that is delightful as it is diverse, Canberra boasts an impressive selection of wine varieties. Be it a dry chardonnay, a fruity resiling, a moody merlot or a sensual shiraz, there is a drop to suit almost every palette.

This stomping ground is shared by multigenerational and emerging producers, each honing their craft. With a beautiful blend of fabulous food and wine, Canberra’s wineries can be reached in as little as thirty minutes.

But, with over forty cellar doors spanning just as many beautiful wineries where does one start? If you’re looking for an intimate, personal, and memorable winery experience near Canberra look no further. Here is our pick of the finest wineries in Canberra.

READ ALSO Canberra Day Trips: Dine among the vines

What makes a great winery?

Great wineries are known for more than their acclaimed wine. They fuse sommelier sass with culinary creativity to present and overarching cultural experience tied to the soil, sun, and seasons. Here is what we think separates the regions finest wineries from the rest:

  • Wonderful wine. Above all else, great wineries produce wonderful wine. Drop by precious drop, these wineries remind us why good wine has stood the test of time. Whether you are on the hunt for your favourite drop or seeking something a new, do some research and pin point wineries accordingly. Some may boast industry accolades, others an award or two. But every great winery will see you depart with a new proud bottle to add to your collection.
  • Sumptuous scenery. Whether we choose to admit it or not, there is a light romantic notion that comes with visiting a vineyard. Perhaps it’s the rawness of the earth or the ever-changing vistas. Either way, many of us are seeking a beautiful setting in which to feel captivated or simply enjoy. Often, the most memorable wineries are surrounded by sumptuous scenery. Consider what is closest to your heart and plan your visit accordingly.
  • Entire experience. Wineries offer more than simply a taste of wine; they offer access to the entire wine making experience. As we lean in toward provenance now more than ever, the best wineries connect the dots, showcasing their production journey. Be it a tour of the founding cellar, a picnic amongst the vines, or a wine-paired degustation, they offer it all. The best offer truly immersive experiences, that are memorable and unique at the same time.
  • Plentiful cellar. All great wineries have well stocked cellars, particularly with varietals sampled at the door. If you have fallen in love with a sample or two, chances are you’ll relish in the delight of taking some home. Some cellar doors may even offer exclusives or the chance to join their club. Be sure to check on cellar door services offered by the wineries you intend to visit before heading out.
  • The people. A glass of wine is always best when shared. And, when it comes to any great winery, the people make the world of difference. Whether you’d like a tour or simply a quick chat about the wine itself, staff should be knowledgeable, friendly, and happy to help. From warm and welcome greetings through to entertaining and informative tastings, the best wineries deliver service with a smile.

The best wineries in 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.

Lerida Estate

Nestled at the base of the rolling Cullerin Range at Lake George is the prestigious Lerida Estate. Founded in 1997 as a manifestation in pursuit of the perfect pinot noir, it stands today as one of the regions most accomplished wine makers.

Known for harnessing its cool climate site, Lerida Estate’s low yielding vines are artfully transformed into their slate of award-winning wines. Dedicated to making distinctive, world class wines, Lerida Estate have curated a selection of vines that best represent the uniqueness of their natural site. From Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Viognier, along with the jewel in their crown – Pinot Noir, Lerida Estate has a spectacular combination of vines.

Perfectly positioned within the vineyard is their stunning winery, an architectural masterpiece designed by Glenn Murcutt. Accommodating the flow of the wine making process itself, the winery captures each state from crushing to fermentation, barrel storage, and ultimately cellar operations.

With a cosy outdoor courtyard and a roaring indoor fire, Lerida Estate can be visited and enjoyed all year round. Moreover, the wineries Café Lerida boasts modern Australian fare, and some wonderful accompaniments to their wines. Open 10am to 5pm seven days a week, it is the perfect place to pop in for a visit or stay a while.

Allie Kuhne shared this review on Google, “A gem of a place to drop in for lunch and do some wine tasting. We spent a couple of hours here and had a great time. Alex was amazing at talking us through our tastings. And lunch was light and fresh and super tasty. Highly recommend the calamari. They offer some unique wines and the view out over the vineyards and Lake George offers great photo opportunities.”

Yarrh Wines

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 …”

Lark Hill Winery

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. Lark Hill partners with Agostini's Restaurant to serve lunch for guests on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

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.”

Four Winds Vineyard

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.”

McKellar Ridge Estate

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.”

Wily Trout Vineyard

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!”

Brindabella Hills Winery

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.”

Looking for an easy way to visit more than one winery? Check out our article on the best wine tours in Canberra. For alternative short break ideas explore 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the Canberra region’s wineries located?

Canberra’s wine region, otherwise known as the Canberra District, is comprised of three distinct regions all within a quick thirty minute drive from Canberra. These regions include Murrumbateman and Yass, Canberra and Hall, along with Bungendore, Wamboin, Gundaroo, Lake George and Collector.

How many wineries are there in this area?

The Canberra District wine region boasts over 40 stunning wineries and over 140 vineyards.

What types of wines are produced in the Canberra region?

The region is known for its cool climate wines and with large variation in elevation, temperature and soil type across the area, variety is the name of the game. Here you can find the likes of Sangiovese, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, and Tempranillo to name a few.

Do all wineries operate cellar doors?

Cellar door offerings vary among Canberra region wineries. While some offer the full wine and dine experience others do not, so best to consult the winery of choice beforehand. The Canberra Wine Association website is a great reference point also.

Are bookings required for winery tastings?

While some wineries accept walk in tastings, most recommend securing a date and time ahead of your visit. Equally, how a winery caters to booking numbers does vary, and some are more suited to families than others. If in doubt give the winery a quick call to discuss options.

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Give Peter Slipper a call at Parliament House -he’s checked them all out a few times.

A good secret location is Yarrh winery in Murrenbateman – they have live music and tapas on the first Sunday of every month – make sure to book.
http://www.yarrhwines.com.au/home/

fromthecapital said :

O’Leary and Collector dont have cellar doors do they?

No they don’t. It’s probably worth planning the trip if you’re looking to eat at some point – Lark Hill has a nice restaurant overlooking their very nicely maintained vineyard – it operates on weekends, but, as mentioned, call ahead to make sure.

If you like interesting buildings and locations, Yarrh is definitely worth a visit.

In some respects this is a good time to visit vineyards as we’re right in the middle of vintage for the region, with a lot of Shiraz coming off in the next week or two, although it also means the winemakers are unlikely to be hanging around the cellar door, and a lot of the vines will be under nets.

fromthecapital5:27 pm 13 Mar 13

D3lerium said :

Best to head out to Murrumbateman or up to the Lake George area, both are a fairly quick drive.

It doesn’t really matter what vineyard you head out to within these area’s they will be special in terms or scenery and the people that run the business etc. So it’s just a matter of finding a great wine, my suggestions for wineries to vist are:

Clonakilla (http://www.clonakilla.com.au/), Tim Kirt is a great bloke and loves a chat which is sometimes nice…. Also producing some of the best wines in the world always helps.

Nick O’leary (http://www.nickolearywines.com.au/)

Eden Road Wines (http://edenroadwines.com.au/)

Collector Wines (http://www.collectorwines.com.au/)

Mount Majura Wines (http://www.mountmajura.com.au/), nice for something very local and they do an amazing Riesling.

Helm (http://www.helmwines.com.au/)

Gallagher Wines (http://www.gallagherwines.com.au/)

Thats just a nice short list, i hope this helps…. Have fun.

Clonakilla and Helm definitely the top two.

O’Leary and Collector dont have cellar doors do they?

Absolutely Clonakilla – best wine in the region for mine. Their Shiraz Viognier is delicious and their straight Viognier is one of the only white wines I actually like.

Tallagandra Hill also product a nice drop and they’re just up the road (along with three or four other notables along Murrumbateman Rd.

Best to head out to Murrumbateman or up to the Lake George area, both are a fairly quick drive.

It doesn’t really matter what vineyard you head out to within these area’s they will be special in terms or scenery and the people that run the business etc. So it’s just a matter of finding a great wine, my suggestions for wineries to vist are:

Clonakilla (http://www.clonakilla.com.au/), Tim Kirt is a great bloke and loves a chat which is sometimes nice…. Also producing some of the best wines in the world always helps.

Nick O’leary (http://www.nickolearywines.com.au/)

Eden Road Wines (http://edenroadwines.com.au/)

Collector Wines (http://www.collectorwines.com.au/)

Mount Majura Wines (http://www.mountmajura.com.au/), nice for something very local and they do an amazing Riesling.

Helm (http://www.helmwines.com.au/)

Gallagher Wines (http://www.gallagherwines.com.au/)

Thats just a nice short list, i hope this helps…. Have fun.

Most are in Murrumbateman, check out the Canberra District Wines website: http://www.canberrawines.com.au/

My suggestion for the top wineries are:

Clonakilla
Helm
Lark Hill
Jeir Creek
Eden Road

If you have time also check out Surveyor’s Hill and Mount Majura Vineyard.

I quite like Flints in the Vines out at Shaws Vineyard at Murrumbateman, and Lark Hill Winery out Wamboin area. Both have fantastic restaurants with great views, and the wines aren’t bad either.

The Yarrh winery at Murrumbateman is very good, been there a few times, should be on Google, for times

Lerida Wines at Lake George is worth a visit, excellent wines, nice location and the cafe is pretty good.

We went out a while ago for my partner’s birthday. When booking them, she found that some only open the cellar door upon request, so it might be a good idea to ring a few of them in advance to let them know you’re coming.

http://www.agfg.com.au/guide/nsw/capital-country/capital-country/murrumbateman/listings/wine-wineries/

I can highly recommend Four Winds. They set up a ‘guess the fragrance’ game for us to play while we did tasting, and offered a tour of the cellars. Brilliant Riesling too!

in_the_taratory11:58 am 13 Mar 13

Where to start? There are lots in different directions. Capital Wines down Gundaroo way (with top notch restaurant), Lark Hill down Bungendore way, Lerida Estate down Lake George way and too many to name on the way to Murrumbateman. It depends if you have a lot of time – if so, do a big trip. If not, maybe concentrate on the Murrumbateman wineries (you can do a lot without driving far between each).
Anyway have reviewed a few here: http://inthetaratory.wordpress.com/tag/wine/
My picks would probably be Capital Wines and Lerida Estate. Surveyor’s Hill does an amazing dessert wine.
If they are here on 6-7 April there is a wine harvest festival.
I think http://www.canberrawines.com.au gives you detail of what’s open when and where so you can plan your trip. Generally opening times are weekends from around lunchtime.

Good timing, I also have a friend coming down to Canberra next weekend, and they asked specifically about good wineries to visit 🙂

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