Wines with elegance and spice

While the Canberra District may not be Australia’s best known region, its wines have already made an impact on wine lovers and critics. The region produces some of Australia’s most loved cool climate Shiraz, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay.

Now a new wave of excitement is sweeping through the region as established winemakers are joined by a new generation of winemakers, ones who are setting the scene for a future of new varietals and revolutionary winemaking that will increase the region’s fame through the decades ahead.

Read more about the Canberra District.

Canberra District
Canberra District
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Canberra District snapshot

Canberra’s wine industry is relatively young by Australian standards. While South Australia and Victoria were already established as wine regions by the end of the 1800s, Canberra only had a few small, unremarkable vineyards planted near Yass. This changed when Dr Edgar Riek, a pioneer of the region, planted vineyards in 1971. One thing that attracted Riek was the unique climate of the region. Canberra’s continental climate is one of extremes: 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. The topography of the region is quite varied, with undulating hills and distant views of the Snowy Mountains forming a picturesque backdrop to many of the vineyards. Slope, aspect and air drainage are all important. 


Along with the pioneer winemakers who have been part of the Canberra District’s fabric for more than 40 years, a new generation of winemakers are pushing the boundaries to bring a sense of excitement and anticipation to the Canberra district wine story. These new-wave winemakers are pushing the limits and setting the scene for region’s future, taking it to a new contemporary audience by branching out with alternative varietals including Grüner Veltliner, Tempranillo, Gamay and Sangiovese. Combine all of this with a thriving cool climate wine and food culture and you’ve got one of Australian wine’s best-kept secrets.

Read more about the Canberra District.

Total vineyard area
35° 03'S
Growing season rainfall
Mean temperature (Jan)
Heat degree days


This is arguably the most important and admired white variety in the region. The wines are often made in a crisp, dry style, however sweeter styles are making a comeback. These are wines that age well, developing toasty complexity over many, many years.


In recent years Canberra District Shiraz has come into its own as the hero variety for the region, with several wineries produce spectacular examples redolent of spice, black cherry and liquorice.

Top varieties grown in Canberra District
  • Extreme Continental climate. Very warm, dry days but cold nights during summer
  • Cool Autumn temperatures with rain at harvest not uncommon
  • Predominantly hard red duplex soils with shallow clay loam top soils

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