We all know about Australia’s great wines. And who doesn’t love a glass of wine with friends or family at the end of the day? We know our Handmade community does, because the wineries who attend the market are always well received. We try to bring a mix of local and national wines to each event, and the September market will be no exception. On September 7 & 8 at EPIC, we will have five wineries to present to you. Each will be showcasing the fruits of their labours, so please make sure you stop and look, taste and discuss.
We thought we’d have a little fun and ask some of them for tasting notes on a particular wine they’re keen to showcase. The language of wine tasting is a mystery to most of us, but as our winemakers are fluent, we’re leaving it to them to educate us.


Twisted River Wines have been coming to Handmade for a while now. Michelle and Helen always have a smile and a pearl of wisdom for us. A chance conversation over a bottle of wine led them from palliative care to the vineyard and they’ve never looked back. Their cool climate site between Orange and Parkes has produced a number of grape varieties and has a special cellar door. Their sustainable practices and focus on quality have led to multiple awards across all of their wines. The tasting note they have offered is for a shiraz viognier. Over to Michelle and Helen…


Medium-bodied garnet with delicate floral whispers, raspberries and pepper. This one will have you convinced you’re a poet. Don’t kid yourself. Your verses are terrible in comparison with the virtuosity of this Shakespearean dream child. Open it any night of the week by yourself to commune with the world’s four major religions or create your own religion sharing it with friends. You won’t forget this celestial experience!


Quarry Hill Wines are also no strangers to Handmade and continue to delight our visitors. Based just outside Canberra, Quarry Hill Wines produces distinctive wines that reflect the unique soils and terrain of this cool climate region. Known for its steep site and terraced crops, the vineyard produces well known varieties. But also some that are a little less common, offering an exciting and intriguing alternative for those looking for something new.
They’re excited to present the vineyard’s first ever Grenache Rosé. Says Russell Kerrison, “we’re pretty excited by how it’s turned out, and even with limited release it’s been selling much more strongly than we expected, and we’ll probably sell out of this first vintage before the end of the year.” The wine is called ‘First Light’ as that’s when you need to start hand-picking the fruit to make sure the grapes are as cool as possible when they get to the winery. Grenache is a difficult grape to grow in the cool climate Canberra district. They planted the new vines in 2009 at the very highest and warmest point in the vineyard. Then in January, the drastic measure of thinning the bunches by 50% led to full ripeness in March, with a good balance of acid and sugars.

We’ve been rewarded with a simply beautiful Rosé unlike any other. It’s bursting with bright notes of raspberry and mandarin, along with some rose petal. The palate is generous but crisp with red fruit and a little citrus. It’s essentially dry with just a touch of sweetness to allow a full expression of the fruit. We’ve been matching it with smoked salmon, but it’s a lovely wine just by itself, shared with friends.

Contentious Character

Just 15 minutes North East of Canberra in Wamboin, lies the vineyard of Contentious Character. They want you to “raise a glass, ruffle some feathers and celebrate your contentious character” when you visit the cellar door. Tony Mansfield and the team produce old world style aged vintages and new world style recent vintages, all with original names. Tony couldn’t pick just one, so here’s a menu for you to choose from.
2018 Dry as a Dead Dingoes Donga Riesling – A dry Riesling with citrus blossom and ginger on the nose followed by a favour filled punch of lemon and lime. If you preferred you could go for the 2017 Come the Raw Prawn, which is less dry.
2017 Pinot Noir – The Rough End of the Pineapple – A dry Pinot with a great red pepper and berry nose, and firm tannin that will continue to round out with age. It has hints of cinnamon and caraway on the palate.
2017 Pinot Gris – A redolence of pineapple, orange and musk with nice upfront fruit and acidity with a soft finish.
2010 Shiraz – A soft Shiraz with subtle pepper and spice aromas finely structured tannins and delicate fruit flavours of red plum and cherry. This carries a new ‘Founders Museum’ lable so presents well as a Contentious Character museum wine.

Watch out for special offers leading up to the market on the Contentious Character’s Facebook page and make sure you visit our wineries at the market in just two weeks. Taste for yourselves and see whether you agree with the notes they’ve provided. See you there.