Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Canberra Vineyards

Names such as the Hunter Valley have always made wine lovers shiver with 
excitement when enjoying a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in the fabulous Australian vineyards, but there is another hidden gem; Canberra.

The area around Canberra is home to over 33 wineries with 140 vineyards, all within an hour of the capital, making it the perfect day out from the city. Canberra’s vineyards produce distinctive wines, different from those in other regions due to their soil, altitude, and weather patterns. It also has a lot to do with the winemakers themselves, as these wineries are smaller, boutique style cellars, producing redefined, characterful wines, and offering an original, interactive service for visitors.

What can you expect?

Many of the wineries offer tours where you can meet the winemakers, walk through the vineyards, and of course taste the wines. To make things a little easier, the wineries in the region have produced a local guide, known as the Canberra District Wineries Guide, which includes a map, directions and information about the wineries themselves, as well as the tours and special events such as markets, new releases, and festivals.

What types of wine does the district produce?

The altitude and soil types create cool climate wines, very diverse. Grape varieties include everything from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Shiraz to Sangiovese and Riesling, and each cellar does something entirely different with their grapes.  Shiraz and Riesling are the most favoured wines to originate from here.

What are the closest vineyards to Canberra?

That would be Hall, no more than ten minutes outside the city. The wineries are set in the rolling hills with views over the Brindabella Mountains, Eden Road Wines, Mount Mmajura Vineyard, and the Pialloigo Estate are the three which are closest to the city. See the link at the bottom of the page for a map and directions.

There are two other areas, which are still within easy reach, Murrumbateman and Yass, and Bungendore, Wamboin and Lake George. Murrumbateman and Yass is a 40 minute drive from the capital and has over 10 wineries to visit, as well as some beautifully resorted historic buildings, and excellent places to try out local specialities in food, as well as wine. There are also places where you can stay overnight, so you can genuinely enjoy a wine experience. The other area is Bungendore, Wamboin and Lake George, this area produces yet more fabulous wines, as well as some award winning restaurants. The lake has a different microclimate, and the areas around the historic villages of Gundaroo and Collector are well worth stopping for a wander round, before heading to the higher altitude wineries around Bungendore and the Wamboin.

Are there any options for visiting the wineries without having to drive?

Yes, and unless you’re staying locally its better to take a tour of the vineyards, otherwise you can’t truly appreciate the wine at its best. The wine guide gives details of companies who operate tours, the other option is to stay overnight in your motorhome rental or campervan hire at Murrumbateman, when you can explore on foot.

A tour of the vineyards and wineries close to Canberra is a fantastic way of experiencing a different perspective of Australia’s capital, and it’s nice to know that in your home away from home, you can enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, and still have extremely comfortable surroundings, whilst you enjoy a bottle of something tasty.


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