Canberra Wine District
In 2006, the Burton family purchased a 5-acre vineyard in Gundaroo, 30 minutes from the Canberra city centre. The vineyard in Gundaroo was first intended as a small hobby farm, to which film director dad Geoff Burton and anthropologist mum, Prof. Sharon Bell, could use to escape the city. However, Winemaker and owner, Matt Burton made a Murrumbateman Shiraz in 2009 and it had unexpected success, winning a gold medal at the NSW Wine Awards. And so, the family’s Canberra wine journey really kicked off. In 2017 they opened the Gundog Estate Cork St Cellar Door, in the same complex as the fine dining establishment, Grazing. This ensured the premium wine was always in excellent company alongside the award-winning menu at Grazing, Gundaroo.
Matt said mastery of a craft like wine making is a lifetime’s work and he feels like he is only halfway there.
“Winemaking has not only allowed me to indulge my passion and creativity, but it has also provided a platform to affect positive change in our community via our social and environmental sustainability efforts, which are equally important to me.”
There are currently 9 wines attributed directly to our Canberra vineyard with 2 that incorporate grapes from our Hilltops and Murrumbateman vineyards in show stopping blends. Showcasing cool climate Shiraz and Riesling, these wines run the gamut of our celebratory Sparkling Shiraz, our award-winning Marksman Shiraz, our off-dry Riesling for those who like a sweeter, Alsace style Riesling, and our flagship Rose, made using our Canberra Cabernet Sauvignon and Hilltops shiraz.
A Fine Food and Wine Experience
In addition to our award-winning range of wines available to taste and purchase at the Gundog Cork St Cellar door, visitors also have an opportunity to enjoy a range of seasonal dishes prepared by our neighbours – the award-winning Grazing Restaurant. With dishes such as hand-rolled potato tortellini, almond ricotta, muscatel and beurre noisette; Za’atar goat köfta, aubergine, smoky yoghurt and cress; butterflied Tiger prawn, kohlrabi, clam & remoulade; and duck and chestnut terrine, quince and fennel, our wines are a perfectly winning match to Kurts incredible dishes, available for Take Home during lockdown.
A cellar door absolute fav during the winter months is our incredible hot chocolate served with a shot of our NV Muscat, to be consumed in front of our fireplace, with a loved one, an experience that warms the soul. And don’t forget our collaboration with the local Truffle farms, winter wine pairings with truffle cheese platters, available for such a short time, they’re not to be missed.
Matt Burton, Gundog Estate – GT Wine Magazine – Finalist Winemaker of the Year
Exciting news for the Canberra Wine District coming out of the Gundog Estate Cork Street Cellar camp, with Matt Burton, owner and winemaker of Gundog Estate being nominated as a 2021 Winemaker of the Year finalist by Gourmet Traveller WINE. The August/September 2021 issue of Gourmet Traveller WINE announced the final eight finalists in its 2021 Winemaker of the Year Award.
“To be considered for Australia’s most prestigious wine industry award is utterly humbling and tremendously exciting,” Matt said. “As a small family-owned boutique producer, I am so proud of my super-talented team who help bring our winemaking dreams to life. This nomination is just a fantastic validation of what we do.”
Awards judge and respected wine writer, Peter Bourne, praised Matt’s approach to winemaking and his business. “Burton has an entrepreneurial streak with two small, warm and inviting cellar doors: one in old Pokolbin schoolhouse on MacDonald’s Road, aptly named Gundog Hunter Cellar; and Gourmet Pantry and Cork St Cellars in Gundaroo. Burton has his Gundog Estate label plus a standalone brand, Indomitus, to push the winemaking envelope. For extra fun, he collaborates with Dylan McMahon to make wine under the Burton McMahon label,” Peter Bourne said.
The award winner will be announced at a virtual award ceremony streamed live on the 15th of October.
Are there grape varieties and wine types that Matt thinks highlights the premium quality of the Canberra Wine District?
Matt’s philosophy has been shaped by the wineries where he’s worked and the (generous) mentors with whom he has shared a glass or three and has placed his focus on three varieties that are synonymous with the cool climate wine Canberra Wine District – Shiraz, Riesling, and the underrepresented Cabernet Sauvignon.
Canberra District Sparkling Shiraz – There is nothing more celebratory at Christmas time than a glass of sparkling red. As a wine style, Sparkling Shiraz is uniquely Australian, and offers an amazingly different way to enjoy this classic grape variety. Our wine is produced from premium Canberra District Shiraz, grown in mature vineyards. We fermented the wine in open tanks, before pressing to top quality French oak barrels for 12 months maturation. The wine then underwent a second fermentation in a pressurized tank, prior to bottling. The Sparkling Shiraz may be enjoyed now, served well chilled.
Marksman Shiraz – Matt had a feeling the yet to be released 2019 flagship Canberra Shiraz, the Marksman Shiraz was pretty special, and with Huon Hooke from The Real Review scoring it a very impressive 95 points, the wine now sits in an incredible 5th position in the Real Review’s classification of NSW Shiraz from the 2019 vintage. The 2018, currently available, according to James Halliday and scoring a 96, is “one of the best wines in the Gundog portfolio. Each aspect of the wine is more exactly expressed, reflecting the fact that only the best barrels are selected from the Canberra District wine in the current year.”
Gundog Estate Rosé – From the Gundog Estate Range, Matt is one of a few winemakers who cultivates cool climate Cabernet Sauvignon for the specific purpose of making their Gundog Estate Rosé. Produced from Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz grown in the cool climate Canberra and Hilltops districts, this rosé is vibrantly coloured, has enticing aromas of cherry, mulberry and spice and a palate that features a delicate balance of flavour, acidity, and fine tannins.
Gundaroo Riesling – What would a Canberra winemaker be without his Riesling? The first release of their 2021 Riesling from the family’s Gundaroo vineyard is a celebration of style and innovation. Traditional and modern winemaking practices combine to produce a stunningly balanced example of an off-dry Riesling. Extraordinary acid drive is beautifully tempered by residual sweetness to deliver a seamless and vibrant young wine, that proudly showcases elegance, poise, and regional identity.
In the Business of Sustainable and Environmental Winemaking
On this highly emotive and personal subject, Matt says, “Our approach to business aims to combine sustainable long-term growth with positive outcomes for the community, environment and business stakeholders alike. This is why we look to longer term horizons rather than focusing on short-term profitability.”
Sustainability, and its three pillars – economic, social, and environmental, has become a driving force for their organisation in recent years. It is a concept that is at the heart of what they do, and guides many (if not all) of their key business decisions.
Environmentally, in collaboration with partner 15 Trees, an organisation who helps individuals and businesses reduce their carbon footprint and combat the effects of climate change, Gundog Estate’s tree purchase tally recently clocked over to 1,500. These trees and shrubs are now being used in native regeneration projects across the country, where natural habitats are being restored, delivering positive environmental outcomes. Matt’s enthusiastic move toward sustainable viticulture and winemaking also continues and is reflected in the team’s recent embrace of biological farming practices, the use of organic fertilisers, and plant-based fining products.
As a direct result, Gundog Estate has reached what was arguably their most significant announcement of the year – becoming Carbon Neutral. The process of reducing their carbon footprint across all aspects of the business is continual, and always will be. If greenhouse gas emissions cannot be avoided, these are offset by purchasing certified carbon credits in renewable energy projects. Fundamentally, this is an acknowledgement that there is an environmental cost associated with the operation of the business, and that cost should be minimised or eliminated where possible and paid for when it cannot.
The Gundog Estate team now sits amongst leaders in a range of industries who have similarly identified the need to rapidly transform our national and global economies to ones built around carbon neutrality. In doing so, they are mitigating the effects of climate change, and helping to create a hopeful future for our children.
FINALIST – GOURMET TRAVELLER AUSTRALIAN WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR 2021
FIVE STAR WINERY – JAMES HALLIDAY’S WINE COMPANION 2022
BEST SMALL CELLAR DOOR – CANBERRA DISTRICT, GOURMET TRAVELLER WINE MAGAZINE 2021
BEST SMALL CELLAR DOOR – LOWER HUNTER, GOURMET TRAVELLER WINE MAGAZINE 2018 & 201
Find out contact information here on the Gundog Estate’s Gundaroo featured page.