The philosophy at Helm Wines is that winemaking is an art not a science. The winemaker is the custodian of the grape and has the potential to create a masterpiece. We strive to produce premium quality wines that reflect the true characteristics of the grape and the land or 'terroir' in which they have been grown. The cool climate wine country near Canberra allows Helm Wines to produce unique styles of wines that you won't find anywhere else in the world.
The winery uses a combination of modern and traditional winemaking equipment which allow for the consistent production of high quality reds and whites. We adopt a minimalist approach to winemaking, so that what you get in the bottle is as close as possible to what came out of the vine. Our wines have attracted an impressive 30 years of wine show awards from every major show and wine critic in Australia.
Photo by: Irene Dowdy
Helm Wines in the last 30 years have produced a full range of wine styles from many different varieties such as Port, Sherry, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Muller Thurgau, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and sparkling styles. Helm Wines is proud to offer its consumers a diverse range of varieties and styles each year as production permits. The winery has however come to focus on certain Benchmark wines in particular.
Riesling has been Ken's passion for 30 years. The first wine he produced in Canberra in 1977 was Riesling and this won the winery's first award. Ken states that Riesling is the 'Queen of grapes', however it is also the most demanding mistress and if not treated with care and respect, it is unforgiving. At Helm Wines, we ensure that we take the upmost care in producing our Riesling wines. The fruit is hand harvested, the fermentation carefully controlled and bottling is carried out as soon as possible so that the wine is captured at its absolute freshness. It is this attention to detail and devotion to creating the optimum expression of the Riesling variety, that has seen Helm Wines recognised over three decades with numerous national and international awards and reviews for their Rieslings. Helm Wines has become renowned for its Classic Dry style of Riesling however recent years have seen the winery introduce a Half Dry style of Riesling which has a hint of sweetness. These two contrasting styles show the diversity that can be accomplished with this classic and often understated variety.
Cabernet Sauvignon, the classic red grape that thrives in the Canberra climate and soils. The wines have been a great success to Helm Wines. In 1984 the first gold medal and trophy to a Canberra wine was the 1983 Helm Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1988 the Helm Cabernet Sauvignon 1986 won the first gold at Royal Sydney Wine Show to a Canberra wine. In 1989 the move to blends saw the straight Cabernet Sauvignon cease production, except for Stephanie who produced her Cabernet sauvignon which in 1998 won gold and trophy at the Cool Climate Wine Show. The winery turned its attention back to Cabernet Sauvignon after a trip to Bordeaux Premium Growth wineries in 1999 by Ken, his son Matthew and grape growing neighbour Al Lustenburger. This trip assisted in the development of the recipe to make consistent premium Cabernets in the Canberra District. The award winning 2005 vintage was the first release using all the techniques of vine management and winemaking learnt in Bordeaux. The success of this vintage went far beyond all expectations, winning a silver medal in the London World Wine Awards and receiving praise from some of the top wine writers in Australia.
Helm Reserve Blend is produced in years when the blend of Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet franc produces an outstanding wine. This blend was first commenced by Helm Wines in 1994 and has won 3 gold, 4 silver and 8 bronze awards from just 4 wines. Another benchmark wine.