Australia’s Best Wines – Where are the Canberra Drops?

by The Editor

Canberra Vs World Affordable Wine


Canberrans are proud of our local wines. While only Mount Majura actually produces within the ACT border, we are more than happy to claim everything from Yass through to Lake George, it seems that we still can’t crack it with the best across the nation.

James Halliday – possibly the biggest name in Australian wine – has released his Top 100 Wines for 2015. Guess how many local wines made the cut this year…

None. Not a single one.



James Halliday, wine reviewer photographed at the NGV for The Australian Magazine


Now, there are two possible reasons for this: The first is that regardless of our support and delight, Canberra region wines just aren’t that good. This is certainly possible given the thousands of wines produced across Australia and the continuously improving standard.

The second possible reason is that local winemakers simply weren’t part of the 1250 wines submitted for this year’s list, and therefore ineligible for a mention. To us, this sounds like more likely.




Recently, we visited one of Melbourne’s most elite and expensive restaurants over the weekend  are were somewhat surprised by the encyclopaedic wine list that featured only one wine from one winery within our region. That, of course, was the Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier. Fair call really and there were multiple vintages were on offer.

While this lone representative may be disappointing, it’s still one more Canberra wine than in Halliday’s Top 100 Wines for 2015. Halliday selected 20 wines across five categories (Under/Over $20.00 for Whites/Reds, and Sparkling/Champagne) and not a single local drop made the cut.


Ken Helm


To broaden the list of impressive wines, Halliday also includes the ‘next best’ ten wines for each category. Only the Helm Premium Canberra District Riesling made the cut of the next 50, which doesn’t really reflect the energetic and exciting industry that has develop since Ken & Co started producing their excellent wines over 40 years ago.

Given the quality of the 2015 whites coming through, we’ll be fascinated to se what makes next year’s list. Having spoken off the record with a few local producers this morning, many are ready for inclusion for the 2016 Wine Companion when it is released in August of next year, we’ll really know where the region’s wines stand.