20 April 2024

Now is your chance to see what goes on behind Canberra's cellar doors

| James Coleman
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The Stomp Festival and Canberra Wine Week combine this year. Photo: Canberra District Wine Industry Association.

According to Wine Australia, Canberra holds “one of Australian wine’s best-kept secrets”.

“Canberra district wines have already made an impact on wine-lovers and critics, producing some of Australia’s most-loved cool climate Shiraz, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay.”

The experts largely put it down to our climate of extremes, with its “cold, crisp winters and hot, dry summers”. This is said to give the grapes plenty of time to ripen while also supplying them “some rest” when the temperature drops overnight.

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Well, this year’s grapes are gathered and the signs are good.

Or in the words of Fergus McGhie, president of the Canberra District Wine Industry Association (CDWIA), 2024 is “a vintage anticipated to be exceptional”.

“The Canberra District might be small in size, but our wines stand tall on the national stage, celebrated for their quality and innovation,” he says.

“We’re a close-knit community of winemakers dedicated to crafting exceptional wines.”

Bob and Julie Barton of Barton Estate. Photo: Canberra District Wine Industry Association.

To celebrate, two annual fixtures on the Canberra oenophile’s calendar – the Stomp Festival and Canberra Wine Week – are combining.

More than 20 of the Canberra region’s wineries and producers throw open their cellar doors this weekend for the Stomp Festival, for wine releases, live music, art, behind-the-scenes tours, barrel room tastings, back vintages, demonstrations, picnics in the vineyard, gourmet chocolates, lawn games and plenty of prizes.

Four Winds Vineyard is ready to take your order. Photo: Canberra District Wine Industry Association.

Canberra Wine Week then takes over from Monday, 22 April, to Sunday, 28 April, with more of the same.

“Attendees will be treated to a variety of wine-centric activities, including tastings, vineyard tours, workshops, long lunches and privileged access to behind-the-scenes moments,” Fergus adds.

Throughout the festival, a number of restaurants and bars across Canberra are also collaborating with the local district’s wineries and spotlighting their offerings.

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All up, the countryside around the ACT is home to 140 vineyards and 40 wineries, within a 35-minute drive of the city.

The Mount Majura Vineyard is hosting a lunch with its next-door neighbour, The Truffle Farm, on 20 April, for $195 per person. There will be canapes to start, followed by a three-course menu complimented by their wines, all set among a forest of 8000 oak and hazelnut trees.

Members will then have the opportunity to help harvest the remaining grapes on Saturday, 27 April.

There’ll be wine-tastings galore. Photo: Canberra District Wine Industry Association.

Further afield, Four Winds Vineyard at Murrumbateman is hosting a 60-minute tour of its facilities for $45, including wood-fired pizza and a glass-of-wine voucher.

“One of the great things about the Stomp Festival weekend is the culmination of our wineries’ efforts to create an unforgettable weekend for locals and visitors to the Canberra region,” owner Sarah Collingwood says.

“We invite everyone to join us, from casual enthusiasts to seasoned connoisseurs, to discover the unique charm of Canberra’s wines.”

Visit the Canberra Wine District website for the full program of events.

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