The best wine tours in Canberra
What started 160 years ago has now blossomed into a wine wonderland. With rolling hills spanning multiple elevations and varying soil types at all elevations, our cool climate is a winemaker’s dream.
The Canberra wine country is home to more wineries than can be counted. With over forty cellars and over two million bottles a year, there is a lot to see and taste. Indeed, the wine country of Canberra has produced distinctive drops for years.
Known for its Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Shiraz grape varieties, the region has become a force to be reckoned with. Many connoisseurs across Australia and the world have recognized the distinct characteristics inherent in the wine of the region.
But, with so many wineries – and so little time – what’s the best way to savor it all? Well, Canberra is also home to top class wine tours. For the uninitiated, wine tours offer a convenient way to taste a region’s best wines in comfort and style. As local experts, their routes showcase the best of the best with many unique experiences.
A great wine tour is the perfect way to spend a quiet weekend in Canberra. The only problem is, which are the best? Surely anyone who has bought a circuit knows that there are good ones, and then there is the rest. To ensure you have a premium experience, we’ve selected our selection below.
What makes a great wine tour?
The best wine tours offer memorable cultural experiences rooted in fabulous food and wine. Their expertise and passion for a good drop is contagious, making you want to come back again and again. Here’s what we think makes a great wine tour:
- Passion. A smile, a positive attitude and boundless enthusiasm create warmth on the most boring days. Look for wine travel companies full of enthusiasts. From the moment you call to inquire, until the farewell, seek passion. Passion in their approach to wine; passion in their relations with the winegrowers; and passion for your overall experience. After all, you always remember people, and tours are people’s business. Check out online reviews and travel guides to help you assess this aspect.
- Insider knowledge. What really sets any visiting experience apart from others is the level of knowledge expressed by the hosts. This insider know-how should include the history of the winery, the winemaking process itself and the regional wine culture. Let’s not forget the wine itself! Guided wine tastings make all the difference when it comes to wine tours. In many cases, vineyard owners will lead the charge; However, having a wine lover’s guide is a blessing in disguise.
- Authentic experiences. One of the main assets of a wine tour is the access it offers to authentic wine experiences. Anyone can walk to a cellar door and buy a bottle, but they’ll miss the story behind it. And by story we mean everything. From tasting the grapes at the foot of the vine, to walking through the production and dusting in the cellar. A great wine tour allows you to savor every moment, like a unique experience that you will remember.
- An intimate affair. While there is certainly a place for large group tours, when it comes to wine, privacy is best. Large wine tourism companies know this well, offering tour options suitable for a handful of guests at a time. Whether it’s a special occasion for two or a day out for six, they have it all. An intimate size allows guests to truly engage in a way that a large group simply cannot provide. Make sure the guide / guest ratio is high for the best tour experience.
- Creature comforts. Today’s wine drinkers demand more than ever. As the accessibility of wine merchandising increases, so does our expectation of its experience. This is why the best wine tourism companies offer all the comforts that customers will need. From luxury transportation to delicious regional treats, full meals and even an umbrella or shawl if needed.
The best wine tours in Canberra
The RiotACT editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site feedback to come up with a list of the most recommended companies in your opinion.
To be featured in our Best of Canberra series, every business must have received regular positive reviews on RiotACT and Facebook, as well as maintain a minimum 4/5 star average on Google.
Canberra Limo Wine Tours
If you are looking for that rockstar wine tour experience, Canberra Limo Wine Tours is for you. Specializing in wine tours by limousine, they have one of the most comfortable transport fleets in the city. Each visit allows customers to travel in style with a choice of Chrysler 300, Hummer and Ford limousines.
Tours include an experienced driver and host, a private full-day winery tour visiting three to four wineries, wine tastings, and lunch. Canberra Wine Limo Tours can also accommodate larger groups of twelve to seventeen accordingly. For a smooth wine tasting experience, check out Canberra Wine Limo Tours.
Susan Sleigh shared her experience with the team on Google, âI just wanted to say we had a great time on Sunday. Clonakilla was a personal favorite, and everyone really enjoyed the lunch. We will definitely recommend you to others.
Vines & Wines
Run by a dynamic husband and wife duo, Vines & Wines is more than just a tour operator. They are passionate about wine, passionate about the best wines and products from our regions. Offering group wine tours and private group experiences, their tours include a mix of wine tasting and fine dining.
Vines & Wines is equipped to accommodate groups of any size. From intimate groups of two to groups of eight to thirty, they’ve got it covered. Each tour includes transportation, a minimum of three wine tours, and lunch. For an experience that makes you live like a local at Vines & Wines.
Former BizzyBirdie customer shared this review, âFrom the reservation to the last drink, your host, Elouise, and the wines of Canberra are exceptional!â
Let’s go to CBR places
More than just a private chauffeur service, Let’s Go Places Canberra also offers exclusive luxury wine tours of Murrumbateman’s cool climate wine country. Perfect for wine lovers, couples and small groups, each Grape Escape Tour is tailored to meet individual guest needs.
Their tailor-made chauffeured tours can be created to fit half-day or full-day experiences. Activities include visiting many cellar doors, tasting the wines themselves and tasting local products. Then, Let’s Go Places Canberra will take you home.
Tina Taseska shared her tour experience on Google, âA perfect way to spend the day. Rodney was very professional, knowledgeable and kind. He made sure we were well taken care of and was happy to fit into our schedule. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing day in the surrounding wine region.
To broaden your dining experience, be sure to check out our article on Canberra’s best fine dining restaurants. For other sightseeing experiences, our articles on the best tours and best day trips from Canberra may be of interest.
Your experience with wine tours in Canberra
Thanks to our reviewers who provided insightful comments. If you think we were wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the tour operators listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a wine tour generally include?
While each tour operator handles things a little differently, most wine tours include a visit to various wineries and the chance to taste their products. Your host will often explain the different stages of winemaking and what sets each batch apart from the others. Depending on the time of year, you may be invited to pick grapes and taste them straight from the vineyard. Many tours also include transport to and from the vineyards, as well as lunch. For more details, contact your local enotourist.
How long do wine tours typically last?
Most Canberra wine tours are structured as half or full day options. Under this premise, you can expect to allocate around four hours for a half-day excursion and between seven and eight hours for a full-day excursion. That said, each operator has their own outlook, so it’s best to check the deadlines before booking.
What should I wear to a cellar?
As a general rule, a smart and sophisticated approach is best when attending wineries on tour. Think sophisticated and elegant rather than loud and flashy. While this is naturally dictated by the weather and season, keep in mind that tasting rooms or cellars at wineries can be a few degrees cooler indoors. So bring something to layer like a scarf, knit or jacket, to keep you comfortable as you move through each area of ââthe cellar. And don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes – it may take a bit of walking. If in doubt, check with your wine tourist in advance.
What label should be observed during a wine tasting?
While wine tasting in Australia is generally a more relaxed affair, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to etiquette. First, allow the host to serve the wine. Then, when you hold a glass, do so by the stem or the base only. Finally, it’s as easy as looking, swirling, smelling, then tasting. For additional advice, be sure to ask your friendly wine guide.
Should you sip or spit wine during a tasting?
Whether you sip or spit a wine during a tasting is usually a personal preference. For those who need to limit alcohol intake, drive, or taste a series of wines, spitting can be a useful option. That said, great wine should never be wasted, so take your circumstances into account and never forget to sip it responsibly.