1. Boutique ‘meet the winemaker’ experiences
Respected Australian wine critic, James Halliday, named 11 Canberra District vineyards among his best wineries of the region in his Australian Wine Companion 2014 edition. The following received five star ratings: Capital Wines, Clonakilla, Collector Wines, Eden Road Wines, Four Winds Vineyards, Helm Wines, Lark Hill Winery, Lerida Estate, Mount Majura Vineyard, Nick O’Leary Wines and Ravensworth.
The Canberra District wineries are small enough to have an intimate cellar door experience and meet the winemaker, yet large enough to find all the varieties of a premium wine-growing region.
The region’s 140 vineyards are home to more than 30 cellar doors that produce distinctive award winning cool climate wines. Sprinkled in all directions around Canberra, the wineries are ideal for visiting on a self drive journey taking you from Pialligo in the ACT to the neighbouring wine districts of Hall, Murrumbateman, Bungendore, Wamboin and Lake George.
Clonakilla winemaker, Tim Kirk, is considered a leader in Australia in the production of Shiraz Viognier. He is currently Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine’s Australian Winemaker of the Year. Langton’s Andrew Caillard has described Clonakilla’s Shiraz Viognier as ‘one of the most important advances in the development of Australian Shiraz since the release of 1952 Penfolds Grange Hermitage.
Kirk attributes the diverse styles of wines produced in the Canberra District to the differing soil types, altitudes, micro climates, grapes and people combining to produce a unique geography – something he calls liquid geography. “We don’t make very big, robust wines,” he says, “we make very finely tuned, subtle and enduring wine.”