The Thursday Tipple: Purchasing Wine in the Capital

by The Vinsiders


On a recent visit to the Eden (South Coast) for a fishing expedition, we were reminded of how blessed Canberra now is when it comes to wine-purchasing options. Down ‘The Coast’, the only outlet to procure wine was tacked onto the side of a local bar, and the only options available were mass-produced, multi-region blended wine.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Canberra wine market was also limited and expensive. Thankfully, the situation has improved dramatically. Apart from the establishment of the big two, Dan Murphy’s and First Choice, there is a complement of smaller local heroes, who are the jewels in Canberra’s wine retailing crown.

We recently visited and purchased wine from some of Canberra’s wine shops in order to evaluate the pros and cons of each. Our thoughts are summarised below. We hope they encourage you to support Canberra’s local independent wine shops and to branch out and try something new!

Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy’s Airport Cellars
An outstanding range of international wines at all quality and prices – go have fun and try some grapes you’ve never drunk before. The guys here know their stuff too, so don’t be scared to pick their brain and get them to guide you in your selection. A very good range of Australian wines too, although a little more expensive than the big two.

7-15 Mustang Ave
Majura (Airport)
6247 7921

Jim Murphy’s Fyshwick Cellars
An outstanding range of aged premium Australian wines – there are some classics here. It’s the place to go if you want to buy a mature wine for a special occasion. A great range of Australian wines, along with some international too.

19 Mildura Street,
6295 0060

George's Liquor Store

George’s Liquor Phillip
An eclectic range of primarily Australian wines, but with some international too, which are often quite mature. Not cheap, and the store can be difficult to navigate, so ask for help if needs be. You will often find something unique and special here. It’s like a treasure trove – and it’s worth the digging.

17 Dundas Ct
6285 3075
(no website)


Candamber Belconnen
Good range of Canberra region wines. A wide range of Australian wines you often wont find elsewhere in Canberra. Also, a great selection of premium cellared wine at pretty good prices. Candamber offers a cellaring facility at what we think are very competitive prices. It’s an ideal option if you don’t have a wine fridge or cellar but have some precious wines you want to age in ideal conditions.

4 Oatley Ct
6288 9429

Plonk Logo

Whilst primarily known for its beer, it has a great range of Canberra wines, along with a few more unique Australian releases. Reasonable prices, and it feels good supporting a small business that has really found its niche in Canberra! Keep an eye out for local wine tastings.

Fyshwick Markets
Mildura St, Fyshwick
6260 6336

IGA-Logo copy

For small, local shops, the range can be well considered. Yes, you will pay a few dollars more for the wine, but this is cost of convenience. We are fortunate to have access to such a range of wines so close to home but as each store is independently owned the range can be substantially different depending on where you are.

Pretty much every suburban shopping centre

Ainslie Cellars

Ainslie Cellars
Has an excellent selection, and the service is great as well. Its not unusual for wineries to host tastings here across the weekend, so check the black board when you’re in the area for times. It certainly adds to the wine buying experience!

7 Edgar Street
6230 6622

Campbell Liquor Discounts

Campbell Liquor Discounts
Possibly one of the most unassuming shopfronts around and you’ll often find wine sold out elsewhere in this little gem. Whether you’re in in the mood for a mid-week quaffa or you’re itching to fill the decanter, there will be something in this place for you.

4 Blamey Crescent
6247 1366


Dan Murphys
In general, offers the best prices. A fabulous range of Australian wine, and a good range of often very affordable international wine. The Woden store has a glass cellar which often contains some of the great wines of the world at truly eye-watering prices. You may need a mortgage to buy them, but it’s great for some window shopping. Don’t miss the annual tastings which usually include shiraz and Champagne.

Phillip Marketplace Shops/Hindmarsh Dr
1300 723 388

34/150-180 Soward Way
1300 723 388

1st Choice Liquor

First Choice
Generally, in our experience, not as cheap as Dan Murphy’s, and the range, whilst still impressive, is not as good. It’s still very good though, and great for Champagne.

170 Melrose Dr
6122 8901

46-50 Hibberson St
6204 0600


A more restricted range of interesting wines. It is difficult to find information on some of the international labels, so it is a case of buyer beware. Almost unbelievably cheap prices, although some of these were for Australian labels from poor vintages which have obviously struggled to be sold. For the informed buyer there are bargains to be had.

39-41 Mustang Ave
Majura (Airport )
6246 7500

There you have it.  Be sure to pop in to one of the smaller retailers and engage the staff for a chat about wine. Chances are they are equally passionate about wine, and may be able to help you unearth a bargain or two.

We know what you’re thinking and yes the internet is a major player, but we’ll discuss this some other time…