Tag Archives: Canberra Wineries

Yass Valley Autumn Harvest Escape

Autumn is the best time of year in the Canberra region—not too hot, not too cold, and with the beautiful autumnal colours of the trees and countryside, what better time to get out and about to explore the cool climate wines, cosy restaurants, and history of the Yass Valley.

It’s all happening in April with Canberra Wine Week and the Makers of Murrumbateman—Harvest Hamper Trail which includes hampers in the vines, degustations, barrel tasting, lunches, gourmet platters, and much more! So sit back, lock in your events, and enjoy your autumn harvest escape!

gourmet platter

Tasty gourmet platters.

Canberra Wine Week offers up an amazing selection of events to choose from including tastings, festivals, lunches and dinners, grape stomping, wine tours, meet the makers, and smooth entertainment. Enjoy special offers from a couple of our faves with dinner at Gryphons Caffe Bar (courtesy Kerralee Wines Murrumbateman) and the Long Lunch at Lerida Estate Wines (Lake George).

Reidel wine glass

Wine tasting at Kerralee Wines Murrumbateman.

On the Makers of Murrumbateman Hamper Trail you can enjoy wine pies at Dionysus Winery, book a picnic hamper with dips, cheese, cold meats, tomatoes, olives, bread and crackers at Eden Road Wines, indulge in gourmet platters in the barrel room at McKeller Ridge, or you can try bottling your own wine at Murrumbateman Winery, plus much more. And, if that wasn’t enough to tempt your tastebuds, get your hamper trail passport stamped at only three participating venues (pick up your passport at your first port of call) to go in the draw to win a super hamper chock full of locally produced goodies!

If wine and great food doesn’t tickle your taste buds, there’s heaps more happening including stunning artworks by local artists such as Hillgrove Pottery, Creators Nest, Gundaroo Collectors and the newly re-opened Crisp Galleries. You can also explore the 19th Century architecture and heritage listed buildings in Yass and the surrounding region, plus walking trails in Yass, Gundaroo, and Binalong.

picnic in the vines

Picnic in the vines.

And, seriously, who doesn’t love coming face-to-face with cute furry animals? At One Tree Hill Alpaca Farm you can take a guided walk through the farm, meet the alpacas, and stop in at the Farm Shop for a range of hand dyed and alpaca yarns and gifts. Book the 2.5 hour Aussie Alpaca Adventure to hand feed the alpacas, take them for a walk and give them a cuddle, and have short lesson in dying yard and how to skirt a fleece.


Cuteness overload!

Click here for more information on current and upcoming events in the Yass Valley.

Meet the Murrumbateman Makers!

The annual Murrumbateman Moving Feast is on again this weekend! From 29 – 30 September a number of Murrumbateman and Yass wineries will be serving up mains and desserts with a matching glass of their vino. You can tantalise your taste buds with this roving degustation of fine local wines and delicious tasting plates, and if it’s anything like last year, it will be fantastic—and crowded, so book now! Here’s a sample of what you can expect.

Eden Road Winery are offering a trio of Arancini with goat cheese and pesto, braised beef cheek with chilli jam, and wild mushrooms with feta, matched with 2015 Syrah or 2017 Pinot Noir. Indulge your senses with a triple choc brownie with home-made Baileys Ice Cream served with an East Lake sparkling or 2017 Canberra Riesling.

Yarrh Wines are serving up wood roasted butterflied leg of lamb with leeks in wine and walnut aillade, with a vegetarian option of roast sweet potato with chilli lemon sauce and mushrooms, paired with a 2017 Shiraz. For dessert taste test their famous pear and almond tart with a 2018 late harvest.

Dionysus Winery Who doesn’t love sliders followed by a salted caramel mousse! Dionysus have slow roasted pork belly with sriracha (hot chilli sauce) and slaw; and grilled haloumi, pickle, lettuce and Kewpie mayo, matched with their own Reisling. Followed by a rich salted caramel mousse made with Lindt chocolate and served with a dollop of salted caramel and cream—that’s got to be a winner! And comes beautifully matched with a Cab Sav.

Kerralee Vineyard was our favourite last year, and although much smaller than most of the others, family owned Kerralee is well worth a visit. Offering a Pot pie of beef slow cooked in Kerralee Merlot, topped with puff pastry, served with salad garnish, and comes with a wine of your choice. Their house-made cheesecake on a gluten free nut base topped with fresh seasonal fruit is totally yum! Matched with pinot noir rosé or my personal fave, their merlot rosé.

Delish slow-cooked beef pie 

But that’s not all … a total of 19 wineries are participating in the Moving Feast event, and you don’t have to just stick with one. You can choose your favourite main from one winery, and pop over to another for dessert. Savoury dishes are $25 and desserts are $20 and all come with the vino, and you get to keep your lovely Riedel wine glass worth $20. What are you waiting for?

Go to Murrumbateman Moving Feast to check out full details and book your tickets.

Murrumbateman Moving Feast in Review

Yass Valley is becoming the hub of NSW for its cold climate wines, and the Murrumbateman Moving Feast is a fantastic opportunity to discover some of the lesser known wineries in the region.

Avoiding the larger and more known wineries, we opted to wine and dine at a couple of smaller boutique places, and then popped into a couple of others—just for a taste … as you do.


McKellar Ridge Wines. Beef Bourguignon and Veggie Pie.

Our lunch was at McKellar Ridge Winery just off the Barton Highway and about 20 minutes out of Canberra. This was well set up for the Feast and was probably the most commercial of those we visited. I can highly recommend the Beef Bourguignon and veggie pie—full of chunks of steak and veggies and with light puff pastry, and well matched with a wine trio of Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot and Cabernet Franc—the perfect blend. The sparkling Pinot Noir (an alternative choice) proved to be surprisingly heavy for a sparkling wine and one I doubt we’d choose again. The winery had also organised live music for the event—a laid back duo who played unobtrusively in the background.


McKellar Ridge Wines. Matching our pie with sparkling Pinot Noir (l), and Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Carbernet Franc blend (r)

We had intended to visit Gallagher Wines—on Dog Trap Road—for dessert, but apparently so had everyone else who was at the Feast as they had sold out by 1pm!  However, the wine tasting was going full blast and for the Moving Feast their sparklings were out on display, and their sparkling Duet or Shiraz would have been the perfect accompaniment to their home-made maple ice-cream … but sadly it wasn’t to be. This is obviously a really popular winery for those ‘in the know’ and it has been flagged by us for a future visit.


Kerralee Wines. GF cheesecake with berries

That said, we moved our dessert to Kerralee Wines, a small vineyard just off the Barton Highway. Don’t be misled by the size of this place—only 5 acres, but producing the best wines we tasted on the day. This is family owned enterprise over four generations, and I think they were all there on the day, and recent vintages have been named after grand-children. Nothing was too much trouble, and everyone was up for a friendly chat. We sat outside at a bistro setting placed under the trees, patted the Jack Russell Terriers roving around, and enjoyed the lightest gluten-free cheesecake I’ve tasted. Served with fresh blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, and matched with the choice of a Pinot Noir or Merlot Rose, it was delightful choice of venue. We were so impressed with the Merlot Rose that we purchased a bottle to enjoy later.


Kerralee Wines. Matching delish cheesecake with Pinot Noir (l) and Merlot Rose (r)

The Murrumbateman Moving Feast is presented by the Makers of Murrumbateman, and ends tomorrow, 1 October—so get out there and enjoy the fabulous food and winning wines! And our thanks to Visit Yass Valley for providing us with the opportunity to enjoy a great day out.

Feasting in Murrumbateman!

The Murrumbateman Moving Feast is on this coming weekend, Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October, with over 18 participating wineries and speciality producers to tempt your tastebuds with divine wines and gourmet menus.


Traditional French cassoulet with duck, pork, sausage, and haricot beans. Photo example only.

Canberra, or more specifically the Yass Valley, is fast gaining a reputation for its excellent cold climate wines, in particular its leading varieties of Shiraz and Riesling, and many of the wineries also include cafés and restaurants where you can sample a degustation, enjoy a light lunch or dinner—often with local entertainment, and learn a bit about wine matching.

To that end, the Makers of Murrumbateman have pulled together to put on an entire weekend of wine and food tasting and sampling. Simply download the program, select your choice of main and dessert, and book your ticket—it’s that easy!

Fish - roast barra with kipfler potatoes

Seared barramundi with Kipfler potatoes. Photo example only.

With mains from traditional French cassoulet, black truffle chicken, Australian barramundi, and Korean bao sliders, accompanied by desserts including chocolate mousse, cakes, cheesecakes and tortes, to clafoutis, home-made ice creams, and the quintessential  Aussie pav … what’s not to like! Each meal is served with matching wines, and … you get to keep the souvenir wine glass.


Korean Bao Sliders. Photo example only.

But wait, there’s more! Pick up your Murrumbateman Moving Feast passport and have it stamped at the participating venues to go in the draw to win a prize pack full of local goodies and produce.


Cherry clafoutis with ice-cream. Photo example only.

After the hustle and bustle of the moving feast you can slow down a bit with Music Monday on 2 October. Participating wineries will be offering cellar door wine tastings with live music from local bands, musos, and singer-songwriters. Click the link for more info.

C3 Pav Vegan, egg free, gluten free Pavlova.

The quintessential Aussie pav! Photo example only.

The Murrumbateman Moving Feast is part of a range of events in the Yass Valley from mid-September to mid-October including wineries, restaurants, music venues, arts and crafts, and accommodation. For more information on these and other events visit the Yass Valley website, and for information on accommodation bookings call 1300 886 014.

Out of Left Field!

Picture this … the sun is setting over a hillside garden looking over the vineyard, the tables are groaning under local home-made pâtés, cheeses and good country breads, and more importantly—the wine is ready for tasting! By Paul Stewart.

canberra vineyard

LFW is at Clementine Restaurant for Food by Clementine and Left Field Wines wine tasting as part of Canberra District Wine Week in Yass and we’re here to sample wines out of ‘left field’ by six local producers, and with accompanying canapes and finger food.

I began the tasting with the Fumé Blanc from Sholto Wines, a small boutique winery established in 2013 by young winemaker Jacob Carter. This wine was neither vegetal like a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, nor could I detect any minerality such as in a Sancerre Blanc, but it had a pleasant floral nose of its own and was easy drinking. A good way to start the evening!

To be honest, I worked my way through most, if not all, of the offerings without much of a plan except to pounce when a space opened at a tasting table. Up next was Mallaluka Wines, another small boutique producer using minimum chemicals and open vat fermentation, with the wine bottled at a fairly young age with the potential to mature further for many years in the bottle. Their Riesling was not my favourite, but a young lady commented that it was ‘very hipster’—not sure if that was a ringing endorsement or not, but its sibling, Cabernet Shiraz Sangiovese blend, proved much more to my taste—both accessible and enjoyable. Although some may suggest it could be characterised as a bit of a mongrel—this puppy sat very well.sholto wines

Returning to the Sholto table, the Barbera was tasty and teased my nose … was that a touch of clove, cinnamon or perhaps soft tobacco? A half step to the side and I was at the table for Yassgas! This small batch of ‘whatever was left over’ was actually very pleasant. I don’t think it will impress aficionados and snobs, but it slipped down easily with a playful nose and no rough edges—a glass of vino fun, if ever there was one!

The Collector Wines’ offerings were a Marsanne and a Sangiovese. I’m not particularly a fan of Marsanne but it was a good representation of the variety even though I wouldn’t buy it myself. On the other hand the Sangiovese was truly luscious—soft, generous, and drinkable; everything that one seeks in this scion of Chianti. Collector Wines is made up a group of growers with grapes farmed on the granite and reddish shale loams of the Canberra district.

Last, but by no means least, was the Yarrh Wines table. A slightly cloudy (and please don’t be put off by that description) rosé with a touch of frizzante, labelled earlier in the day as Nat Sem, was unusual and wonderful. With the aromas of ripe tropical fruits, this little lovely would be perfect to enjoy over lunch on some of the warm sunny days left to us in this autumn. Yarrh Wines produce a high quality range of small batch, hand crafted, estate grown and bottled wines, available for purchase at the cellar door, online, and at selected retail outlets.


Breads, cheeses, and pâté at Clementine Restaurant

And now to the food! Overall the food was delectable, including a large round of Camembert layered with truffle, house-made hummus, and a ready supply of artfully created canapés, which went perfectly with the wines on offer. This had much to do with the skill of Clementine Restaurant and head chef Adam Bantock. Clementine opened in December 2015 and is well known by locals and more than worthy of the trip out from Canberra one Sunday afternoon. The food is inspired by regional French and Italian cooking and the 1950s weatherboard cottage is a comfortable and relaxed setting.


Clementine’s Restaurant, Yass

For all the enjoyment of the evening, I was left with the lingering sense that perhaps these may not have been the finest wines on offer in the region, and that the Yass Valley still has a lot more up its sleeve. That said; it was a very pleasant way to spend a Thursday evening.

Photos by Paul Stewart for LFW

Days of Wine and Roses

Wine with lunch. Wine with dinner. Wine with friends.  How many ways can you have wine for a week? Well, more than you think if you check this out! Wineries in the Yass Valley are gearing up for Canberra District Wine Week—a celebration of—well, wine!summerside-shaw-vineyard-estate

“Canberra District Wine Week is the perfect time to visit Yass Valley as the region’s wineries offer some great wine events, dinners, lunches, tastings, tours and more,” said Sean Haylan, Economic Development & Tourism Manager at Yass Valley Council. “It’s also harvest time which really is a great time to come and celebrate the 2017 vintage with the winemakers of the region”.

Canberra District Wine Week runs over 10 days from 31 March to 9 April, and includes a program of wine tasting, food matching, and tours and events held across the entire Canberra wine district including Hall, Bungendore, Gundaroo, Murrumbateman, and Yass; culminating in the annual Harvest Festival on 8 and 9 April. The week will also include live music and art from local bands and artists.degustation-1

A Festival Passport is also available. Get your passport stamped at three participating wineries and you’ll be in the draw to win one of three Canberra mixed dozens.

Some of the fabulous wine events during the week include a degustation dinner on Saturday 1 April at Ewe and Me Restaurant, and wines and canapes at Clementine Restaurant on Wednesday 5 April.


Image courtesy Clementine Restaurant

At Four Winds Vineyard Cellar Door on 6 April, you can enjoy a fun 4XSangiovese dinner with four courses of pizza each matched with a sangiovese—a variety of red/black wine grape used in making Italian Chianti, and presented by their winemakers, or Taste of the Region Long Lunch in Yass on Friday 7 April, which will feature local food and wine from five local vineyards. A full program of events and happenings will be posted on Canberra District Wine Week’s website.


Image from Four Winds Vineyard Cellar Door

The Yass district also has a range of quality accommodation for those who wish to stay a little longer, from hotels and motels, to luxury self-contained apartments and villas, and several will be offering wine week ‘stay and taste’ packages.

Wine tours are a great way to taste and learn about local wines, and Canberra wine tour company, Vines and Wines are offering independent wine tours, during wine week, for groups of nine people or more—mid-week only. For more information contact them via their website.degustation-prestige-jpg-1024x617

For more information on wine week visit www.canberrawines.com.au

Twenty-Five Years with Poachers!

Poachers Pantry, and its winery, the Wily Trout, has been an icon in the Canberra region for over 25 years, and on Friday 2 September it celebrated its silver anniversary by launching a new Poachers Pantry and Smokehouse Restaurant and Wily Trout Cellar Door with a delicious degustation and wine tasting. By Aine Dowling.

Owned by Rob and Susan Bruce, Poachers Pantry is renowned for its mouth-watering home smoked meats and veggies. “We’ve been creating delicious stories in the Canberra region for 25 years now,” says Susan, “and we’re thrilled to officially launch the restored, renovated, reinvigorated and re-energised Poachers Pantry Smokehouse Restaurant and Wily Trout Cellar Door.PP Logo

“For our family, it’s always been about welcoming visitors into our lives. Inviting them to experience the way we live, as the restaurant is part of our home. We love sharing our food, wine and our table, and we can’t wait to share the new Poachers.”

Poachers Pantry Smokehouse opened in 1991, the vineyard in 1998, and the café in 2002. The new restaurant now seats 100 people inside in a brand new layout, and the outdoor deck and terrace accommodates a further 100 and offers a beautiful rural outlook over the 1890s woolshed, kitchen garden, and the rolling country hills. And the next generation, daughter Katie and son Will, are now entrenched in the smokehouse, weddings and conferences, and the vineyard.Wily Trout Wines

As part of the makeover, the Wily Trout Cellar Door has undergone extensive renovations and Will has taken over as vigneron of the 100 per cent estate grown brand including natural fermentation, and limited release cool climate wines using a ceramic egg rather than traditional oak barrels. The winery produces delicate whites including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and the reds include a soft Shiraz and delicate Pinot Noir.

Poachers Pantry 1But Poachers Pantry is more than a restaurant and winery. Poachers Pantry products are made using traditional curing and smoking methods, and the meat, poultry and herbs are all sourced from Australian suppliers. The smokehouse operates seven days a week and produces a wide range of smoked meats and poultry, plus, a range of ‘slow foods’ together with simple recipes means you can make your own delicious menus as home including antipasto platters, salads and canapes, and yummy hot dishes. The smoked meats are also available at selected quality grocers and delis in Canberra—and I can personally vouch for the bacon! The smokehouse also produces hams and turkeys for special occasions. The smokehouse range is also available for tasting at the cellar door.

Launch of the new Poachers Pantry Smokehouse and Wily Trout Cellar Door

Launch of the new Poachers Pantry Smokehouse and Wily Trout Cellar Door

The Poachers Pantry is located on Nanima Road, Springrange (Hall), NSW, and is available for weddings, conferences, and functions. For more information, or to make a booking, visit their website or check out their Facebook page.