Capital wines, capital eats, and capital places to stay: journey outside of Canberra and you’ll find plenty to do, drink and eat.
TrueBlue Magazine - June/July 2019
Words: Daniel Honan
An exciting food and wine revolution is taking place across the Australian Capital Territory. Hidden in amongst the hills of the burgeoning Canberra District, intrepid travellers continue to discover what this often overlooked part of Australia is truly capable of.
Within just 50 years, the Canberra District has grown from a few fledgling vineyards in the 1970s to a region now highly regarded for producing many top-quality wines. Here are some of our top picks that you can enjoy on either a day trip or a weekend away, just a short drive outside the capital.
Be sure to stop in at Collector; a tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town with one of the strangest sculpture displays, coolest cafés, and cutest cellar doors (boasting some of the best wine) in the district. Here, beneath a red tin roof, you’ll find charming chardonnays, racy rieslings, and stunning shiraz. Refuel at Some Café, just next door. It’s got great coffee you can sip amidst the cosy, country atmosphere, or enjoy a delicious bite to eat of something from the simple, seasonal menu. collectorwines.com.au
Situated opposite the ephemeral Lake Weereewa (Lake George), just outside of the city, is the contemporary stylings of Lerida Estate. Sit, sip and savour while tasting a selection of the winery’s finest wines – from fantastic fizz and blushing rosés to elegant whites and robust reds. Café Lerida is perfect to take in the magnificent view as you while away the day, grazing on a lunch menu for all tastes. leridaestate.com.au
A visit to the ACT is simply not complete without a day trip to the Poacher’s Pantry in Murrumbateman. Home of Wily Trout wines and some of the finest smoked meats and cheese anywhere in Australia, Poacher’s Pantry is a quintessential Canberran institution. Just 20 minutes’ drive out of dodge, it’s the perfect day trip for the discerning traveller. Graze all day on a leisurely lunch beside the landscaped gardens or spend some time inside tasting the excellent estate-grown wines from the property’s sprawling 700 acres. poacherspantry.com.au
Murrumbateman is the poster child for fine Canberran wine, and Four Winds is no exception, particularly with its penchant for fine rieslings and delicate rosés. Located along Murrumbateman Road, Four Winds winery offer personalised tastings for two or more, while its new wood-fired pizza oven pumps out fresh pies all weekend long. Time your trip right and you could be visiting during one of its many celebrated events, such as Watercolours & Wine. fourwindsvineyard.com.au
SHAW WINES & OLLEYVILLE RESTAURANT
With the recent opening of its new, state-of-the-art cellar door and tasting rooms, Shaw Wines must be placed right at the top of your list of things to visit in the ACT. Its reputation for outstanding wine is well documented them (and you’ll want to give its Reserve Range a try), as is the deliciousness of the food coming from the onsite restaurant, Olleyville. Lunch could easily turn into dinner if you’re not careful. Luckily, there’s excellent accommodation nearby. shawwines.com.au & olleyville.com.au
Lay your Head
It’s been a long time coming, but Murrumbateman finally has accommodation worthy of its wines. As Murrumbateman is a town in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales in Yass Valley Shire, it’s not actually part of the ACT, however it’s only a 30-kilometre cruise north-west of Canberra, and so is a convenient and lovely place to stay while enjoying the region’s riches.
The new Abode Hotel in Murrumbateman boasts 50 brand new, spacious and tastefully appointed rooms, which means you can now spend a weekend (heck, why not a week?!) away adventuring through one of the coolest wine regions in Australia. The open-plan modern kitchens have great facilities (including a cool pop tart maker) and animal lovers will rejoice in knowing that pets are welcome. Abode also has cool bicyles that guests can borrow if they’d like to go on a picnic or travel along safe footpaths to the wineries. abodehotels.com.au
SURVEYOR’S HILL VINEYARD
If big open spaces, clean country air, breathtaking views, and quiet and comfortable accommodation is your preferred method of relaxation, then head for the hills. Surveyor’s Hill Vineyard, to be exact. Spend your evenings unwinding amongst the vines with a glass of wine in your hand, admiring the sweeping, panoramic views as the sun gently sets behind the Brindabella mountain range, right across the river. surveyorshill.com.au
Canberra is Australia’s largest inland city.
Despite summer temperatures reaching well above 30˚C, the Canberra District is considered a cool climate wine region because of its inland elevation.
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