When academics David and Sue Carpenter fell in love with cool climate wines in the 1970s, they decided to plant their own vineyard on an estate in Bungendore, 30 kilometres north-east of Canberra.
Since then, the couple have purchased a second winery in Murrumbateman. They are passionate about using organic and biodynamic farming practices, with both Lark Hill Winery in Bungendore and Dark Horse Vineyard in Murrumbateman certified biodynamic.
In 2002, David and Sue’s son Chris joined Lark Hill as a winemaker. Chris lives in Canberra’s inner north, commuting just 20 minutes to the winery each day. He says that Bungendore’s proximity to Canberra means they can live five minutes from great schools and restaurants, medical care and the community, while farming in a rural location and growing grapes in a pristine, chemical-free environment.
Lark Hill Winery employs full time staff to work in the vineyard, and has a roster of local employees who manage the wine bar and café. “We have a pretty small team here, but we do get great access to fantastic employees from the local region,” says Chris.
The winery also benefits from Canberra’s booming food tourism market. “Gone are the days when people visited Canberra and Bungendore for museums and political attractions. Now it’s great restaurants, great bars, the Bungendore Farmers Market, and more!”
Having grown up on the Lark Hill estate, Chris says that Bungendore is a fantastic place to live and raise a family. And with Canberra so close, it offers all the benefits of larger blocks, clean air, clear skies and a peaceful lifestyle, with easy access to a great capital city.