Great wine, delicious food and all enjoyed with your furry best friend. Life can't get better than that. And you don't even have to stay at home to enjoy all three!
We've made it our mission to research Canberra region wineries to find out which are the dog-friendliest. We focused on wineries that also offer meals so you can make the most of your visit by trying out local food as well as sampling Canberra's award-winning wines.
We can now recommend four wineries that offer excellent wine, food and dog friendly facilities.
These wineries are family-run businesses with a focus on service. Each offers a unique experience and well worth a visit whether or not you're a wine connoisseur. Although we've focused on the 'dog-friendliness' aspect rather than the wine and food, these wineries attract large numbers of very positive reviews from their visitors.
But before we get to the dog friendly wineries themselves, here's some tips to make sure you get the most from your visit.
All dog friendly wineries recommend you phone or email ahead to make sure you get the very best dog friendly table. You'll want an outdoor table that's sunny in winter, shady in summer or a mix of both, and with plenty of space around the table so that your dog can lie safely and comfortably by your side. If you prefer to be spontaneous, these wineries won't mind if you just turn up, but you may not get the best position for you and your dog.
Keep your dog comfy»
Bear in mind that your dog won't be able to join you in the wine tasting area. As tasting areas are inside, they fall under the national food regulations prohibiting dog access. However, all our recommended wineries offer shady, safe spots to tie up your dog immediately outside the tasting area. They also have shady parking spots so your dog could be left in the car for a short time while you're trying out wines, but you would need to check them frequently as shade moves. We also recommend bringing a rug or your dog's bed so they can rest comfortably while you're wine tasting or enjoying your meal.
Be a considerate guest»
Dogs are very welcome as long as they stay on leash - that includes not just the outdoor meals areas but everywhere on the properties. And of course, make sure you pick up after any messes.
So, in alphabetical order here's our four recommendations, plus information on a suggested half-day driving tour combining all four.
On the edge of Lake George, Lerida Estate is smart, professional, and able to cater for large groups and functions as well as individuals with their dogs. An enormous and striking 'shed' designed by renowned architect Glenn Murcutt houses the winery, wine tasting and cafe facilities. On many Sundays there's the bonus of free live music by local and visiting artists.
Café Lerida provides two very pleasant dog friendly outdoor areas to choose from, both bordered by a herb garden: a tiled courtyard with full shade/full sun options just outside the tasting room; and a grassy spot just around the corner with large shade umbrellas for hot days. A water bowl is also provided for visiting dogs which can be refreshed from a tap in the courtyard.
All the outdoor areas have beautiful views over (usually dry) Lake George and the blue-tinged hills behind Bungendore.
Amazing views, contemporary architecture, and a pretty 2 km (on leash) walk through the vines and gum trees along the Lake George Range (free map and walking notes at the winery shop)
Lerida Estate wine tasting - daily 10 am to 5 pm
Café Lerida - daily for lunch, coffee/tea, snacks 11.30 am to 3 pm
02 4848 0231; firstname.lastname@example.org
Lerida Estate is just off the Federal Highway adjacent to Lake George. Turn off the Federal Highway at Gurney VC rest area (turn left if travelling from Canberra or turn right if travelling from Goulbourn) then turn immediately right into 'The Vineyards' road. It's the first winery on the left about 800 metres from the turnoff. See map below.
Mollie the winery dog is quick to greet you as you step onto the outdoor deck at super dog-friendly Murrumbateman Winery. Mollie was adopted from the RSPCA and thinks she's landed in doggy heaven - open space, muddy ponds and a never-ending stream of new humans to throw manky balls!
There are plenty of outdoor tables to choose from - either on a large terrace shaded by a marquee during warmer months, or on the lawn under mature, tall claret ashes.
Murrumbateman Winery helps support the RSPCA through proceeds from the sale of Mollie's own wine Mollie's Block Sauvignon Blanc - such a clever dog! - as well as Wine Dogs Pinot Grrr-is.
Mollie hosts several doggie events through the year, including Howlin' in the Vines on Mothers' Day, Pawsome Wines in the Vines in spring, and Mollie's Good Dog Christmas Party in December. Events are posted on Murrumbateman Winery's Facebook page.
Relaxed vibe, customer focus and friendly winery dog
Wednesday, Thursday 12 to 4 pm and Friday 10 am to 5 pm for wine tasting and coffee/tea, with bookings required for lunch.
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10 am to 5 pm for wine tasting, cheese plates, scones, coffee/tea.
More substantial lunch platters and shared plates are also available but must be booked at least 24 hours ahead.
0432 826 454; email@example.com; online booking
Murrumbateman Winery is at 131 McIntosh Circuit. Turn off the Barton Highway into McIntosh Circuit (turn left if coming from Canberra or turn right if coming from Yass) and it's the first property on the left. See map below.
Shaw Wines and Olleyville demonstrate a perfect partnership. Guests can wander between the ultramodern Shaw Wines cellar door for tastings, and Olleyville for delicious meals paired with Shaw and other excellent wines. If you're lucky, you'll even see winery dog, Indie, flashing her sweet grin.
The immaculate Shaw/Olleyville venues are able to cater for large groups without impacting on the experience for individual guests. Olleyville offers lunch and dinner most days as well as breakfast/brunch on weekends, while the Shaw Wines cellar door venue offers generous cheese platters with your tastings.
The outdoor areas are varied and with oodles of space between tables. At Olleyville, there's a fully covered verandah, a large paved terrace shaded by big sails in hot weather, plus more seating out on the grass. In colder months, outdoor diners are offered heaters and blankets. At Shaw Wines cellar door, there's an enormous covered outdoor terrace extending the length of the building. All the outdoor areas feature pretty rural views.
Super friendly, dog-loving staff, and outstanding dog friendly outdoor areas
Shaw Wines wine tasting - daily 10 am to 5 pm
Olleyville restaurant - Wednesday to Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday 9.30 am through to dinner, Sunday 9.30 am to 3.00 pm
02 6227 5144; online booking
Shaw Wines and Olleyville are at 34 Isabel Drive, Murrumbateman. Turn left off the Barton Highway into McIntosh Circuit if coming from Canberra, or right off the Barton Highway into South Street if coming from Yass. The property is the first on the right on Isabel Drive, on the corner of McIntosh Circuit. See map below.
Surveyor's Hill Vineyards is a little hidden gem. Tucked away against the eponymous hill, the intimate tasting room/restaurant offers pretty views of grapevines, olive groves and rolling pastures every way you look.
The guest facilities are ultra-modern but the Surveyor's Hill farm was first settled in the 1880s. Your dog will enjoy having a wander on leash exploring the spacious home yard and sniffing around the kitchen gardens and old farm sheds.
A small number of dog friendly tables are available on hardwood decks at the front and back of the bistro and wine tasting building, plus there's another table under a pergola on the grass - all with pretty outlooks.
Pretty rural views, intimate atmosphere, and the historic homestead
Surveyor's Hill Vineyards wine tasting- weekends and public holidays 10 am to 5 pm
Bistro restaurant - weekends and public holidays 12 pm to 3 pm
02 6230 2046; firstname.lastname@example.org
Surveyor's Hill Vineyards and Bistro are at 215 Brooklands Road west of Hall. Turn off the Barton Highway into Wallaroo Road (left if coming from Canberra or right if coming from Yass/Murrumbateman). Continue on Wallaroo Road approximately 6 km, then turn left onto Southwell Road. Then take the first right into Brooklands Road. The driveway to Surveyor's Hill is on your left, just before the corner of Woodgrove Close. See map below.
Dog friendly winery locations and suggested driving tour
A visit to all four wineries makes a very pleasant, easy half-day trip from Canberra. Each winery location is marked on the google map below with a suggested driving route. The loop would take you through some interesting countryside and total around 165 km. Approximate driving times are provided below.
Canberra - Surveyor's Hill 30 minutes
Canberra - Murrumbateman village 40 minutes
Canberra - Lerida Estate 35 minutes
Lerida Estate - Murrumbateman village 45 minutes
Surveyor's Hill - Murrumbateman village 30 minutes
How did we choose these wineries?
There are around 25 wineries in the Canberra region. We only contacted the wineries that also offer meals, given that dogs aren't allowed into wine tasting areas. Of these wineries, some were not dog friendly (did not want dogs on the property or had no outdoor tables), or were 'tolerant of the occasional dog' but did not want it promoted, or did not respond to our queries. We asked the remaining wineries to send us information and then visited them personally to make our own assessment.