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Canberra’s three cool-climate wine regions offer a spectacular range of experiences, from wine-tasting and fine dining to truffle hunting. Here’s our guide to the Lake George region.
The large wine-growing region surrounding Lake George and encompassing Bungendore and Wamboin is blessed with an amazing climate, which results in even more amazing wines.
MOUNT MAJURA VINEYARD
When they said good things come in small packages, they may have been referring to Mount Majura Vineyard.
With the vines covering just nine hectares, this tiny property is located a stone’s throw from the centre of Canberra on the red-soil slopes of Mount Majura.
Edgar Reik AO, a pioneer of the Canberra wine scene, first identified this parcel of land as ideal for growing grapes and it became the first vineyard within the ACT when it was planted in 1988.
Winemaker Frank van de Loo works with all the varieties you’ll find in the region but he also has some Tempranillo and Graciano vines.
LARK HILL BIODYNAMIC WINERY
Sue and Dave Carpenter planted their vineyard, Lark Hill Biodynamic Winery, just outside Bungendore in 1978 and in 2006, after three years of transition, had it certified biodynamic.
At this vineyard they work with Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Grüner Veltliner (a white grape grown primarily in Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic).
In 2011 they bought a second vineyard, where they grow Shiraz, Viognier, Sangiovese, Marsanne and Roussanne, which means they can make some pretty mean blends, including the Exaltation (the collective noun for larks), which blends Shiraz and Sangiovese grapes. Sample the wine matched with lunch at D&K Kitchen @ Lark Hill Winery.
Located at an elevation of 800 metres in the rolling hills of Wamboin, Contentious Character (feature image) is one of the highest in the district.
They make Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling, along with a Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay. At the cellar door you get to try award-winning drops and drink in the views of the vineyard, valley and hills.
The popular restaurant offers lunch, dinner and takeaway. You’ll also find an ever-changing list of events at Contentious, from Thursday night trivia with Korean food to yoga and wine sessions and more.
LERIDA ESTATE WINERY
Lerida Estate is certainly one for wine-lovers and architecture buffs.
Lerida produced an amazing selection of elegant wines, complemented by the Glenn Murcutt designed cellar door and restaurant. Wherever you are in the building there’s an immediate connection to the landscape.
Make sure you take home a couple of bottles of Pinot Noir, as the terroir of the Lake George area suits it perfectly. Cafe Lerida is open to the public daily and is a great spot for break on your way into or out of Canberra.
LAKE GEORGE WINERY
On the north-west shore of Lake George, this winery is one of the oldest in the district and a popular wedding venue.
Lake George Winery co-owner, Sarah McDougall, has won the 2019 Australian Women in Wine Award. All grapes are handpicked and the winery follows sustainable practices.
It produces a small amount each of Pinot Noir, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Riesling, Cabernet Merlot, Shiraz and Pinot Noir Rosé which can be found at some of Sydney and Melbourne’s leading restaurants.
Stay at the tiny house known as Little George, buy wine and local produce from the underground cellar and dine at the Westering Restaurant.
Tallagandra Hill is a small family-run winery producing cool climate wines.
The Gundaroo soil produces Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Riesling, Viognier, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay grapes to create their range.
With a modern cellar door, the team offers tastings and a wine bar lunch menu. There’s also a popular function centre.
You can also stay among the vines at Tallagandra Hills, with three gorgeous cottages available for hire.