It is easy to claim you’ve been to the famous mega-wineries around our country, but no wine journey is complete without a visit to the smaller, family-run wineries and Queanbeyan-Palerang is home to three hidden gems, punching way above their weight in the grape stakes.
Set within the rolling hills of nearby Wamboin and Bywong are a true representation on what artisan winemaking is all about. Perfect destinations for a day of winery exploration, they showcase cool climate wines reflecting the terroir of the region. Have a taste, buy a case and maybe take a glimpse at their menu – all three have onsite dining with spectacular views across the vineyards.
The first stop on your winery tour, Norton Road Wines, specialises in growing and making small batch cool climate wines on their four acre parcel of Pinot Noir, Merlot and Riesling, first planted in the 1990s. The vineyard restaurant, Biggie’s barbeque, welcomes visitors to indulge in the rich flavours of their traditional Texas BBQ using the very best of local and regional produce.
Making your way through Norton Road and over Yass River, you’ll get to the second gem of the region, Contentious Character Vineyard, Winery and Cellar-door. The contemporary estate provides visitors with the chance to enjoy luxury treatment with a premium wine tasting held by the winemaker himself. Sip on some Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot or Shiraz while taking in the view across the vineyard and surrounding countryside, and enjoy a contemporary Australian dish with traditional Italian flair.
Last but not least, you will arrive at Lark Hill Biodynamic Winery. Make the most of food and wine matching at this all-natural winery producing Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Rosé, and plenty more wines unique to their vintage and vineyard. Try the selection out at their peaceful and intimate cellar door and take time to enjoy a lunch on the deck of the estate as you enjoy a glass of wine while looking out over the vineyard.
After your winery visits, stop off at the quaint village of Bungendore and explore the wide range of galleries, boutique retail and cafes. Head east for the 30min drive to Braidwood or west for the easy 25min return drive to Queanbeyan.