Murrumbateman holds the key to cellar door success in the region, having nabbed four of five accolades for the wine-making district in Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine’s latest awards.
Eden Road Wines on the Barton Highway was selected as ‘Star Cellar Door’ in the combined ACT/NSW region, “the Canberra district,” for its overall appeal, range and service.
Cellar door manager Hugh Chapman, originally from the Bathurst region, joined the young label two and a half years ago on moving to Canberra.
A largely self-taught sommelier, he has been “in the liquor industry for many years. I just enjoy wine, but moreover I enjoy wine with people, and that’s what led me to this position.”
Chef Stuart Trower has helped Mr Chapman “extend the experience” at Eden Road with “really good food ... and different to what everyone else is doing; finger food and sharing platters”.
“The idea is that people come here to enjoy themselves,” Mr Chapman said. “The wine is still 99 percent of the work. We just also share our story, talk and laugh with people.”
Eden Road, established in 2008, has been on its present site since 2012, although the vineyard dates back to the early 1970s as the former Doonkuna Estate.
Wine-making is “a bit competitive,” Mr Chapman admits, “but there’s also quite a good sense of community among the makers in the Murrumbateman area.”
He notes the collective success of ‘Wine, Women and Song’, a two-day food and wine fair in late May; and similarly, ‘Moving Feast’ over the October long weekend.
The “big dry” affecting many sectors of agriculture right now is also front of mind in the vineyards, though abated somewhat through monitored irrigation and a collective dam, he said.
“Because Canberra is such cool climate, it doesn’t need as much water, and that dryness can actually help, especially our dryer, boisterous style of riesling,” he said.
Australia's Best Cellar Door Awards for the Canberra District
- Star Cellar Door: Eden Road Wines, 3182 Barton Highway, phone 6226 8800
- Best Large Cellar Door: Clonakilla, 3 Crisps Lane, phone 6227 5877
- Best Small Cellar Door and Best Tasting Experience: Helm Wines, 19 Butts Road, phone 6227 5953
- Best Additional Experience (Sangiovese Dinner): Four Winds Vineyard, 9 Patemans Lane, phone 6227 0189
- Cellar Door With Best Food: Lark Hill Winery, corner of Joe Rocks and Bungendore roads, Bungendore, phone 6238 1393