By Emma Moylan
September 11, 2020 | 5 minute read
Centrally located between Canberra and Sydney, Goulburn is a charming regional city ripe with history. But did you know that the fertile pastoral lands around Goulburn are also brimming with luscious, juicy fruit-laden vines ready for many of the wine varietals you love most?
The traditional lands of the Gundungurra people, these picturesque rolling hills of the Southern Tablelands are a rich farming region that is home to a number of boutique, award-winning wineries just waiting for you to discover. Steadily developing into an established wine region, owing to its elevation and highland setting, this region is ideally suited to the growing of cool climate wine grapes. Come, sip on these!
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Lake George Winery is located halfway between Goulburn and Canberra. A beautiful 300-acre property that overlooks the shores of Lake George, the estate now encompasses two of the region’s earliest vineyards, planted almost 50 years ago. Featuring vineyards, the winery and a restaurant, the estate is renowned for premium cool-climate varietals such as Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
Surrounded by the awe-inspiring rolling hills of the Cullerin Range, the estate takes in a large part of the mountain behind the vines making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon on a long walk beside the spectacular lake.
Just 3 minutes down the road is Lerida Estate, a winery dedicated to taking advantage of the unique high, cool Lake George terroir to make world-class Pinot Noir from low-yielding vines with minimal intervention. The cool-climate site also produces exceptional Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz. Lerida Estate’s architecturally designed winery also houses the popular Café Lerida restaurant.
Take advantage of a wine tasting before you dine so that you know your favourite drop to enjoy with their ever-popular truffle bread, sliders or pie of the week. For us, that was the award-winning 2017 Botrytis Pinot Gris.
Lerida Estate Wines
Drive 10 minutes along the Federal Highway and you'll find the Collector Wines cellar door, situated one minute off the highway in the quaint little town of Collector. Housed in a beautiful historic building dating back to 1829, you can sip on an excellent range of elegant small-batch wines crafted by multi-award wining winemaker Alex McKay. The wines are handmade from grapes sourced from a group of growers farming on the distinct granites and shale loams of the district, including the award-winning Tiger Tiger Chardonnay, a complex drop of depth and concentration.
Heading to Goulburn, just 10 minutes along Crookwell Road is Kingsdale Wines, a small, couple-owned estate producing a range of wines that have won numerous awards. From only seven acres they make a surprising number of different varieties, which all develop their own intense flavour and aroma due to the vineyard’s unique terroir.
A friendly and knowledgeable husband and wife team, on the day we visited, owners Howard and Elly Spark were very welcoming and generously let us sample the entire range, including their delightful sticky fortified Orange Liqueur Wine. We were also provided with lots of information about the winemaking process as we enjoyed views over fields and beautiful Lake Sooley.
Bungonia Creek Winery
A 20-minute drive east of Goulburn, Bungonia Creek’s vineyard thrives in the rich red granite soils that are typical of the area. Irrigated directly from the creek that forms the estate’s eastern boundary, the hand-picked grapes of their 4000 vines include Rosé, Shiraz, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon that they mature in French oak. When you’re done sampling some of the most impressive cool-climate wines in the region, the creek itself continues on down through Bungonia Gorge to the breathtaking Bungonia National Park, a diverse and dynamic natural wilderness filled with all sorts of surprises.
A micro-boutique winery in a secluded valley bush location, Yarralaw Springs is situated just 15 minutes from Goulburn. An organic strawbale building provides a rustic and cosy setting for the cellar door, a unique venue in keeping with the sustainable practices employed on the vineyard. The sustainably grown grapes go towards creating small varietal runs of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Merlot, all of which can be sampled together with traditional Greek salt pickled olives grown in their own olive grove.
Peaceful and tranquil, you can savour a glass of Yarralaw Springs wine overlooking Mediterranean gardens that are also abundant in local fauna including kangaroos and native birds.
What are you waiting for? There are top wine (and food) experiences ripe for the picking in the Goulburn region, so get out there and taste the best the Southern Tablelands has to offer for yourself!
We think you should know
The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers.
We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with,
any of the entities listed in or referred to in this article.