The Canberra District Wine Region incorporates the Australian Capital Territory and a larger area of New South Wales. It is one of Australia's coolest wine regions.
It is part of the Southern New South Wales Zone, which also includes the Hilltops, Gundagai and Tumbarumba wine regions.
For legal land tenure reasons the vast majority of the vineyards are outside the ACT, many of them clustered around the town of Murrrumbateman on the Federal Highway, north of the city of Canberra. There are other wineries clustered around Lake George, to the east, which has a different climate influenced by the Lake George Range.
The climate of this region is influenced by the altitude (vineyards here are between 500m and 850m) and its location far from the ameliorating influence of the sea. As in all inland cooler wine regions spring frosts are a hazard on some sites. Careful vineyard site selection is needed to make sure cold air is able to drain away from the vines.
Drought is a frequent restraint on production. The hot summer days are tempered by cold nights and the cool autumn allows slow ripening of quality fruit.
These are ideal conditions for fine winemaking and Riesling in particular does very well here.
Most of the vineyards here are young, having been established after 1990. The scale of production in the Canberra wine region is generally small, the exception being the large winery and vineyard established by Hardy's in the late 1990s
Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier wins high accolades, but they also make an impressive varietal Viognier.
Among the alternative red wine varieties showing considerable promise in the Canberra Wine Region are Sangiovese and Tempranillo.
The region has over 30 boutique wineries with cellar doors operating. You can enjoy food at several of these wineries as well, ranging from a cellar door platter or a full a la carte restaurant meal.
The city of Canberra is the obvious base for visiting the region. It contains numerous accommodation options and other tourist attractions.
You can stay in a country cottage, a B and B, a vineyard cottage or in the city. Either way you won't be far away from some beautiful wineries.
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