Canberra District Tasting Sydney 2018

If you've never tried wines from Canberra District ... in the southern part of NSW around the city of Canberra, you are truly missing out on some of the most exciting new wines coming out of Australia today. LISA PERROTTI-BROWN, The Wine Advocate

Canberra District encompasses not only vines grown in ACT but also a large proportion are grown in NSW. As a matter of fact, the bulk of the vines are planted in New South Wales in the areas of Murrumbateman, Bungendore, Yass, Gundaroo, Collector, Sutton, Wamboin and Lake George. The reason for this comes down to pre-Federation policies which limit all land in the ACT to 99-year Crown leases rather than freehold ownership. In 1997 Hardys showed there was a solution to the problem: simply enter into an agreement with the Territory Government for the erection of a 2000 tonne winery and the establishment of a 250 hectare vineyard, an enterprise to dwarf all the others.

So the remaining, much smaller, vignerons cluster just outside the Territory’s borders in two groups: in the Yass Valley around Murrumbateman, and along the shores of Lake George. It was indeed within a few hundred metres of the edge of Lake George that Dr Edgar Riek planted the first vines in 1971, and others – mainly from the public service or scientific communities, many with Doctorates of Philosophy to their credit – quickly followed in his wake.

Overall, growth was steady rather than spectacular until the mid 1990s, and the general quality of the wines was equally modest. This was due to three main reasons: first, the virtual absence of qualified winemakers; second, initial lack of understanding of the particular problems posed by the Canberra climate and terroir; and third, the inherent difficulty of small-scale winemaking of white wines. JAMES HALLIDAY

However we have seen an enormous growth in the region in the last decade or so, with many already-acclaimed winemakers fleeing the warmer climates to plant vines in the cooler climates of Canberra's skirt regions. An increase of knowledge and understanding of the region's terroir, climate, soils and it's capabilities (now and future), have been the main reasoning behind Canberra's recent success within the wine industry. Canberra District's continental climate have cold, crisp winters and hot, dry summers. This high diurnal temperature range is what excites winemakers - long, warm days for grape ripening with a sudden drop in night temperature to give the vines some rest.

We are always on the lookout for new and exciting winemakers and we have put together a tasting of some of the best wines that we have tasted from Canberra District for this Saturdays free in-store tasting.
Collector Wines, one of last years in-store favourites, are back with their new releases, Lark Hill, Lerida Estate, Clonakilla with their flagship wine - Shiraz Viognier, up and coming winery - Four Winds, and Ravensworth new releases.