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
This map is not an accurate representation of the regional GI boundaries. Please click here to view an accurate map of the regional boundary.

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.

253ha
Total vineyard area
500-800m
Altitude
35° 18'S
Latitude
420mm
Growing season rainfall
20.2°c
Mean temperature (Jan)
1410
Heat degree days
White
30%
Red
70%
Type

Riesling

Crisp, dry and age-worthy.

Shiraz

This is the region’s strong suit. Medium-bodied, spicy and savoury with distinct licorice and black cherry character. Clonakilla’s Shiraz Viognier is a benchmark for the style.

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

Stories of Australian Wine