The Lake George Wine District nestles in a small region that takes in Bungendore, Collector and Wamboin as well as the area around Lake George. While small geographically, it punches above its weight when it comes to its wines. Reds, whites and sparkling from the district are unique and of exceptional quality, due in part to the climate and conditions around the lake.
Lake George is primarily known for its mysterious lake that appears and vanishes regularly, but it’s also building a reputation for producing wine with distinctive fruit characters and intense flavours. It’s because grapes of excellent quality thrive along the western edge of the lake, in soil that drains freely and encourages deep-rooted, healthy vines. Lake George provides ideal ripening conditions for super-premium wines, with sunny days and chilly nights helping develop wines that are delicate and aromatic.
There are several wineries just off the Federal Highway, and many others close by, so they are ideal if you’re looking to stop at a cellar door, café or restaurant if you’re travelling between Canberra and Sydney, or just for a leisurely weekend drive.
Even if you’re not a wine drinker, there’s plenty to enjoy in the district – cellar doors with spectacular views and atmosphere, cafes, artworks, picnic areas and top regional culinary delights to savour.
Why you’ll love it
There are several wineries within an easy drive of Canberra, all offering different experiences. Here are some of our favourites, but there are plenty of others to try too.
Lark Hill Biodynamic Winery is a stone’s throw from Bungendore and has certified biodynamic status. Grab a bit to eat while you’re there: the food is local, simple, casual and designed to share.
Contentious Character’s cellar door has spectacular views over the vineyard, through to hills and valleys, and the Snowy Mountains, as it is one of the highest vineyards in the region. Grab an epic brunch or lunch from a menu that blends traditional Italian flair with contemporary Australian dishes.
The vines are charging along. So much growth! Pretty soon the vineyard will be an ocean of green. Malcolm and Michael do a great job in the vineyard. Stills from JT Felsch’s latest Lerida Estate video – link in our bio! #visitcanberra #tastecanberra #winery #winetime #lakegeorge #vineyard #leridaestate
Lerida Estate not only has a great range of elegant wines and a fabulous cafe, but architecture buffs will enjoy the artistic design of the winery. Visitors have spectacular views over Lake George and can choose from two tour packages, try a game of petanque, or take a stroll in the nearby hills.
Lake George Winery sits on the northwest shore of the lake. It’s one of the oldest in the region. While it makes a limited amount of its Pinot Noir, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Riesling, Cabernet Merlot, Shiraz and Pinot Noir Rosé, several of these are on the wine lists at some of Australia’s top dining venues.
Affleck Vineyard, near Bungendore, is one of the district’s oldest and smallest wineries, on just four hectares, producing Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz and Merlot. Their wine can only be bought at the cellar door, where visitors overlook the stainless steel vats and inner workings of the winery, or by mail.
The drive to Lake George takes around half an hour from most parts of Canberra, travelling northeast (towards Goulburn and Sydney) via the Federal Highway.
Note that some wineries require bookings, and opening hours can vary so check before you head off.
When to go
Anytime is the right time for a visit to the Lake George Wine District. Many of the wineries and restaurants are popular for weddings and functions, so it’s smart to check if they’ll be open to the public on the day you plan to go.
- Duration: the drive to Lake George from the Canberra CBD takes around half an hour heading north on the Barton Highway towards Goulburn.
- Distance from Canberra: most of the Lake George wineries are less than 50km from the capital
- Cost: some wineries charge for a wine tasting. See individual websites for details
- Recommended for: wine and food buffs
- More information: Visit Canberra
Have you sampled any wine from the Lake George region? Let us know your favourites.
Cover photo from Visit Canberra.