Capital Wines Gundaroo Riesling wins top award at Canberra Wine Show 2014

Natasha Rudra
Winemaker Andrew McEwin.
Winemaker Andrew McEwin. Photo: Melissa Adams

A "racy" riesling has taken out top honours at the ActewAGL Canberra and Region Wine Show. 

Capital Wines' 2014 Gundaroo Riesling was named Champion Wine of Show on Wednesday night.

Chairman of judges Mike Bennie said the show was a masterclass in the Canberra region's "halo varieties", shiraz and riesling.

"You try wines from around Australia and find that standard of red and white wine, it would be a rare thing. It's a very hard task there for us to sift through and find champion wines," he said.

Mr Bennie praised Capital Wines' winning riesling as a powerful wine "that feels almost turbocharged, like someone's put a V8 into a riesling grape and unleashed it on the grass".

"It's a wonderful expression of the riesling grape from a producer who has a really good track record with some really good named single vineyard, they've really nailed it with the 2014 riesling," Mr Bennie said. 

Capital Wines is owned by Jennie and Mark Mooney and winemaker Andrew McEwin.

Mr McEwin said he was "absolutely stunned" by the award.

"I knew it was something special from the instant we pressed it and cleared the juice," he said.


"I try to convert good fruit into good wine. The structure was right, the fruit was good, the vineyard is run very well."

Mr McEwin has been making riesling for Capital Wines for the past five to six years after a long history of producing merlot and shiraz. 

Capital Wines also took out the award for best riesling and best dry white.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher presented the trophies on the night. Other winners included Nick O'Leary who took out the Dr Edgar Riek Trophy for Best Canberra District Shiraz with his 2012 shiraz. 

"He's a quiet achiever working very hard at getting all the elements of his vineyard and letting them speak for themselves," Mr Bennie said. "The wine is pure and light, fresh and fragrant, a glorious wine with perfume and delicacy and detail."

Mr O'Leary said he was honoured to win the trophy named after his mentor, Edgar Riek, who had taught him much about winemaking. 

"It means a lot to me to have that trophy," he said. 

"What I've learnt from Edgar is that he's got an unbelievable skill in the vineyard and also, he has one of the best – even though he's in his 90s now – he still has a fantastic palate. He comes out to my winery regularly and tastes my wine with me. It's quite humbling to win that award."

Helm Wines' Premium Riesling won the Wine of Provenance trophy, and the Chairman's Trophy was won by Eden Road for its 2014 Long Road pinot gris. 

The full list of winners will be available on the Canberra and Region Wine Show website at