Explore Canberra's vineyards and cellar doors
By Mark Smith
The Canberra District and neighbouring regions of the Southern New South Wales zone comprise some of Australia’s most recently established wine producing regions. The variations in site, climate and vineyard aspect found here make it one of the wine industry’s most interesting places to visit.
Canberra’s Clonakilla, for example, is widely regarded as Australia’s best producer of Shiraz Viognier blends. Similarly, Chalkers Crossing and Barwang Vineyard in the Hilltops region also make excellent wines with strong varietal and regional characters.
For lovers of premium quality, bottle-fermented sparkling wines, Tumbarumba is a fascinating wine-growing region. However, many of the wine grapes produced here are grown under contract for large companies such as Constellation Wines Australia and the Fosters Group. The quality of Hardys new super premium Tumbarumba Vintage sparkling wine suggests this is a region capable of gaining an international reputation for its wines.
Elsewhere in the Southern New South Wales zone, visitors will find excellent quality Chardonnay and Shiraz, and myriad single varietal wines created from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Riesling. For visitors seeking some diversity in their drinking, Viognier, Sangiovese and Tempranillo show considerable promise in the Canberra District. Other less common varieties to be found here include Gewürztraminer, Marsanne and Pinot Gris.
Lovers of red wine will rejoice in knowing the Canberra District is predominantly red wine country. Around 68 percent of its total vineyard area is planted to red wine grapes. Shiraz leads the way, occupying roughly 30 percent (116ha) of the region’s vineyard area. Cabernet Sauvignon (75ha) and Merlot (36ha) are the district’s other significant red wine varieties. Interestingly, plantings of Pinot Noir have been increasing here in recent years.
Chardonnay (46ha) is the region’s most highly prized white variety. Riesling (29ha) and Sauvignon Blanc (16ha) are the district’s other significant white wine grapes.
Across the wider Southern New South Wales zone, Shiraz and Chardonnay continue to reign with authority.
- Canberra (ACT)
- Capital Country ACT (ACT)
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