A new boutique hotel in Canberra’s wine region provides the perfect excuse to linger longer.
While the Canberra District wine region has long been popular with thirsty day-trippers, with 30 cellar doors and plenty of delectable restaurants and cafes within 35 minutes of Canberra CBD, quality accommodation has been scarce until now.
With the recent addition of Abode Murrumbateman, a sexy little 50-room boutique hotel in the heart of Canberra wine country, a wine weekend or romantic getaway is emerging as an appealing option for Sydneysiders. Here, we curate the perfect mini-break for wine lovers to enjoy all the spoils that the Canberra District has to offer.
From humble beginnings as an artisan smokehouse, family-owned Poachers Pantry has grown to be a culinary compound including a restaurant, vineyard, farm shop and cellar door. Oozing with country charm, the restaurant is set in a modern Australian farmhouse with a wide deck for relaxed sunny lunch dates and inside fireside dining during the cooler months. You can’t go past the cured and smoked meats on the menu like smoked duck breast, sorrel, confit kohlrabi, persimmon, sheep yoghurt and pistachio. During winter, Poachers Pantry offers an indulgent truffle degustation menu. Organic ingredients from its own kitchen garden feature strongly on the menu and its wine list is made up exclusively of local Wily Trout drops. Say yes to the Wily Trout Blanc de Blanc and settle in for a decadent long lunch.
431 Nanima Road, Springrange
While you’re in the hood, hit up Robyn Rowe Chocolates for handmade chocolates made with love from the finest Belgian Callebaut Fair Trade couverture and filled with local ingredients such as walnuts from its own tree and Clonakilla Muscat. Curious visitors can watch Robyn and her team create these divine confections right before your eyes. You’ll be gripped with indecision by the myriad of glossy morsels on offer including sea salt caramel, espresso and coconut lime zing. Enjoy the sweet rural setting with a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. The chocolate brownie with ice-cream and chocolate dipped strawberry is not to be missed!
1153 Nanima Road, Murrumbateman
Regarded as one of Australia’s finest wineries, Clonakilla is an essential stop on your Canberra wine tour. Established in 1971 by Dr John Kirk, the family-owned winery is now helmed by his son chief winemaker and CEO Tim Kirk. The celebrated winery has outgrown its original cellar door, built by hand by John and his sons, making way for the schmick new cellar door.
The architecturally stunning structure features local stone, reclaimed timber and an impressive bar built from deconstructed barrels. The large central fireplace is the perfect spot to keep warm you while you taste a cheeky red or two – if you’re lucky you’ll try its flagship Shiraz Viognier, widely celebrated as one of Australia’s great reds.
3 Crisps Lane, Murrumbateman
Another Canberra District stalwart is Ken Helm of Helm Wines. Ken and Judith Helm purchased the historic Toual Public School site, six kilometres east of Murrumbateman in 1973 and through hard work and persistence opened their cellar door in 1982. Today, you can find Ken pouring wines in the National Trust-listed original schoolhouse, ready to have a yarn with you about winemaking. Riesling is Ken’s passion and it’s evident in these elegant, beautifully crafted cool-climate wines. Daughter Stephanie started making wine when she was nine years old and continues to assist her father Ken, while simultaneously pursuing her unique style of wines under her own label The Vintner’s Daughter. Visit both cellar doors and meet the makers for an authentic wine experience.
Helm Wines – 19 Butt Road, Murrumbateman
The Vintner’s Daughter – Crisps Lane, Murrumbateman
Make a reservation at Shaw Vineyard Estate’s new restaurant Olleyville and enjoy rustic share plates and savour award-winning wines. Central to the menu is the wood-fired shareable feasts including duck, thyme and coriander; and snapper, infused lime leaf, lemongrass and ginger, all paired with Shaw wines, naturally. If you’re after something lighter, choose an antipasto board featuring artisan cheeses and a local selection of charcuterie and produce, or linger over Little Marionette coffee and homemade pastries all baked in-house by Olleyville’s pastry chef.
34 Isabel Drive, Murrumbateman
It’s all about shiraz at Eden Road Wines. Since its very first vintage when it won the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy, the Long Road Shiraz has become one of the most sought-after Shiraz wines in Australia. After such a cracking start, Eden Road wines has continued to win trophies for its elegant and contemporary style of shiraz. With Bordeaux trained winemaker Celine Rousseau at the helm and assisted by Brigitte Rodda, these passionate women are creating wines of distinction worth the detour.
3182 Barton Hwy, Murrumbateman
Unwind at the newly opened Abode Murrumbateman. This boutique hotel is a real game changer, offering a level of quality accommodation the region craved. Following the hotel trend of contemporary communal spaces, the lobby Pantry is a tempting cellar-door-meets-provedore. En route to your room, select a bottle of local wine and create a bespoke grazing board with a selection of artisanal cured meats, crackers and chutneys.
Rooms are perfectly minimalist, embracing natural styles and textures punctuated by artwork by local landscape photographer Scott Leggo. The lobby lounge transforms by day to a sunny eat-in style kitchen cafe with a simple continental breakfast buffet and quality barista-made coffee available to guests. Bikes are available to hire to explore the countryside if you’re up for the challenge. Otherwise, sit back and relax fireside with a local vino, soaking up the last moments of your wine weekend.
57 Rose St, Murrumbateman