Vines were first planted in the Canberra District in 1971 near Lake George by Dr Edgar Riek. The district is roughly divided into two areas, one in the Yass Valley around Murrumbateman and the other around Lake George and Bungendore. Canberra District has a cool continental climate with hot dry summers necessitating irrigation. A region of rolling hills, with elevations varying between 300 and 800 metres, means that spring frost is a real hazard, making site selection crucial. Small producers dominate the region, making handcrafted, high-quality wines particularly from Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
The story of Clonakilla is one of risk and ingenuity, of vision, generosity and faith. Founded in 1971, Clonakilla grew from a small, struggling boutique winery in the marginal wine region of Murrumbateman to become an icon of ultra-fine Australian wine. Under the skilled winemaking of Chief Winemaker Tim Kirk, Clonakilla’s remarkable flagship wine, the Langton’s Classified ‘Exceptional’ Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier has risen to become a definitive example of its genre. Clonakilla also produces a number of superb whites including Riesling, Chardonnay and Viognier alongside its range of superbly crafted cool climate reds.