July 2, 2014

Helm Wines, history, politics & a bus load of fun!

Helm Wine Bottles - Helm Wines, history, politics & a bus load of fun! Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Working in the Hospitality Industry sure has its perks, we get to try foods and wine from all over the world – market research of course…. and sometimes we are lucky enough to meet ‘the owner’, ‘the grower’ and ‘the wine maker’ too. When the Pressie team started organising their annual Murrumbateman Wine Tour, everyone’s hands shot up to include Helm Winery on the places to visit.

Helm Wines Plaque - Helm Wines, history, politics & a bus load of fun! Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

You see folks, Ken Helm is one of the Canberra wine districts larger than life characters, he is an amazing advocate for the region #lovecanberra and is just as happy to talk about history, the stock market or politics as he is about wine.

Mr Ken Helm - Helm Wines, history, politics & a bus load of fun! Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Helm Wines was established in 1973 by Ken & Judith, and was one of the first commercial wineries, now also one of the leading wineries in the Canberra District Wine Region too. I love that, to this day, the winery is a family affair, with all of the family (including recent additions) playing an integral part in the business.

Helm Wines Secret Recipes - Helm Wines, history, politics & a bus load of fun! Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

They use a combination of modern and traditional equipment and have adopted a minimalist approach to winemaking, what you get in the bottle is as close as possible to what comes out of the vines. 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. Pretty darn special right?!

Wine Barrels - Helm Wines, history, politics & a bus load of fun! Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Now my visit to Helm didn’t include sun or fun in the vines, twas more a snow and uggs by the fireplace kinda day, but I know the grounds at Helm are perfect for a picnic, with picturesque countryside.

Helm Vines - Helm Wines, history, politics & a bus load of fun! Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

We adventured behind the scenes on a guided tour of wine making and viticulture with Mr Helm himself,  it was not only enjoyable but also educational, he kept us captivated with stories of wine drinking in foreign lands, to the history of cork and the bottles the wines are stored in.

Cork - Helm Wines, history, politics & a bus load of fun! Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com The Helm philosophy is that visitors should be treated to not only good wine, but also experience the art of wine making. Mr Helm says that winemaking is an art, it’s not a science, and that the winemaker is the custodian of the grape and has the potential to create a masterpiece, and dang… the man ain’t lying when he says that. We were treated to a couple of stella drops at the tasting in the historic 100 year old Toual School House, which #funfact inspired the use of the school bell on the label.

Helm Wines Old School Till - Helm Wines, history, politics & a bus load of fun! Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

This is a fantastic winery, well worth a visit if you are in the area, you can purchase the Helm Wines direct or from most booze stores Australia wide.

Anna - Wine Barrel Room - Helm Wines, history, politics & a bus load of fun! Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Speaking of wine…. I know how much ya’ll love a glass of vino. The Press Clubs famous Wine & Food Spectacular is on Friday 11 July, 2014!  There will be 20 plus stalls of amazing wines, beers and fine foods to sample, and you can order direct!

I’ve got 2 x double passes up for the grabs. #winning

To be in the running, subscribe to shenANNAgans and in the comments below tell me about your favourite wine, winery or wine region.

CONGRATULATIONS to Fiona & Mel!
You gals are the lucky winners of the double passes to the Press Club Wine & Food Spectacular.

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Anna

shenANNAgans is Anna Johnston, a 30 - something Aussie gal with an unwavering passion for the Hospitality industry. I love the quirky and unusual, designing events, travelling far and wide and eating food from all around the world. I am coffee blooded, a craft beer enthusiast, wine drinking yogi who enjoys writing about her adventures.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Krysten - April 26, 2016 Reply

Oh my gosh, Anna, that looks like it was a blast! I haven’t been to a winery since before my son was born, but I live close to Napa and I used to go all the time. You may have spurred it in me to go again… 😛

    Anna - April 29, 2016 Reply

    You live close to Napa, now that is AWESOME! I am so totally visiting you guys and we must all go visit the wineries near you.

Prateek - April 25, 2016 Reply

What a lovely vineyard and lovely photos! This reminds me of a trip to a vineyard in the Sarasota Bradenton region of Florida last year. The climate is quite different to Cranberra , much hotter but they made surprisingly good wines for a tiny little vineyard. I still feel the climate is important as you mentioned , however I have come across some nice wines in a bit hotter climates as well in Florida, Texas and western India.

    Anna - April 29, 2016 Reply

    I am so desperate to visit this region, I especially love the small and boutique wineries, they often produce the most stella wines. 🙂 I don’t think I am familiar with wines from the hotter climates, but would be so keen to try them, especially the western india one.

Eileen | The Food Avenue - April 25, 2016 Reply

What an amazing history!

    Anna - April 27, 2016 Reply

    It really is one of the Berra’s finest drops. And pretty rad that Mr Helm is such a big advocate for the Canberra wine industry.

Rosemary - April 25, 2016 Reply

What a great visit. It’s always great to have a wine tour with the owner. Mr Helm sounds so passionate and love the fact that the experience is just as important as the wine! Too bad I’ve never seen the Helm wines in the US….would love to taste the passion. Great pictures…as always 🙂

    Anna - April 25, 2016 Reply

    Mr Helm is a wonderful man, a real institution in the Canberra wine region. 🙂 One of these days soon, and when you are actually back in the states, I will have to send you a bottle.

'Art Meets Food' at the Wedgwood Tea Room - January 14, 2016 Reply

[…] started with a chilled glass of Helm Riesling and were walked through our menu. To report on this special event properly, I took one for the team […]

Cez - February 13, 2015 Reply

Looks like an amazing opportunity to taste some good wines. Great photos!

Becky Padmore - July 17, 2014 Reply

I’ve a sucker for wineries they’re so gorgeously rustic! Great shots!

    Anna - July 18, 2014 Reply

    Me too Becky. And Helm Wines was particularly gorgeous. 🙂 Thanks for the compliments, the pictures were taken by a colleague, he is so talented. 🙂

Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner - July 9, 2014 Reply

I love visiting wineries. My husband and I have hit a bunch in CT and NY…wait, that doesn’t sound good…over the years that is. 😉
Gorgeous photos! I feel like I’m there. 🙂

    Anna - July 9, 2014 Reply

    Teehee… Nice work hitting up a bunch of wineries, sounds like a lot of fun. 🙂
    The photos really are amazing, one of my colleagues took majority of them, so amazing.
    Wishing you a brilliant week Tina. xx

Sriprae - July 7, 2014 Reply

How terrific! Loved your post about this winery and the accompanying pictures. Mr. Helm sure sounds like someone who would be fascinating to listen to and learn from.

A few years ago I did a short trip to Napa and drive through the region sightseeing the wineries and vineyards. Picturesque to be sure. Only had time for one wine tasting though.
🙁 But it was a lovely experience as they were releasing their first rosé. Happy girl I was. 🙂

If only I lived in Canberra! Girlfriend, I would be all for getting my hands on a ticket to the wine and food festival. 🙂 Ah…since I’m on the other side of the globe, I shall live vicariously through you then. 😉

Much love to you chica! xo

    Anna - July 8, 2014 Reply

    Yep, Mr Helm is an absolute legend! 🙂
    Oh how fantastic, Napa is on my bucketlist, totally and absolutely jealous, although it sounds like you need to get back to try more fantastic wineries. Lets add that to the ‘When Anna visits’ list.
    Haha, okay, I shall have a cheeky tasting in your honor.
    Giant hugs and loves to you too. Mwah! xx

Kris - July 6, 2014 Reply

And that is one good drop. I drive past it all the time. I think it is now finally time to actually visit…. And drink some wine 🙂
Thanks for sharing with us. Awesome read.

Pete - July 4, 2014 Reply

Will have to give Helm a try next time we head out for a tasting, keep getting to Murrumbateman Winery and a few others in the local region, but havent been to Helm.

Thanks for the blog and for the time you have spent with Indi this week

    Anna - July 4, 2014 Reply

    Wow, thank you so much for checking out my blog Pete, Ill have to pay Indi a commission with all the great PR she has given me this week. 🙂
    Yes, absolutely get on checking out Helm, Ken is amazing and super interesting too. It’s nice to see a winery that still has that old world feel about it.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - July 4, 2014 Reply

I was just saying tonight that chefs must know everyone! And good luck to everyone in the comp! 😀

    Anna - July 4, 2014 Reply

    LOL! Yes, chefs do seem to have a really great network, our chefs in particular, they have got me invites to some REALLY amazing events. 🙂

Fiona - July 4, 2014 Reply

I have to say that although I’ve quite a few local wines still to try (including Helm’s), my favourite local so far, and one of my favourites, full stop, is Clonakilla. I think it was the O’Riada Shiraz that really knocked my socks off when I tried it at the Midweeker that time. So yum.

    Anna - July 4, 2014 Reply

    Oh thats awesome Fi, I do enjoy Clonakilla too, the Shiraz is their big prize winner right?
    Thanks for entering, nice to see you here on my blog. Happy Friday. x

      Fiona - July 8, 2014 Reply

      yes, I believe it is. Tim kindly donated some bottles to Menslink for the Biz Brekkie auction last year and I bought a couple of them myself, for family Chrissie presents. Lucky family!

Nathan - July 3, 2014 Reply

Nice! Myself and Pink must get out there sometime! I love the pics and enjoy a good tour/story especially if history and wine are on offer #winedrinkinghistorynerd

    Anna - July 3, 2014 Reply

    Bahahaha… You would love Ken, he is a wealth of knowledge and a top bloke too. 🙂 Bless your cotton socks being a #winehistorynerd

Mel - July 3, 2014 Reply

I’m quite new to wine, and I’ve gotta wonder what I’ve been doing with my life up to this point!
I love that there are some beautiful wines produced in the Canberra region. I’m passionate about fresh, local food and wine and so glad our region produces great examples of both!
At the moment I love the Silurian sparkling from Mount Majura Vineyard, but I’m working on trying many more!

    Anna - July 3, 2014 Reply

    Hahahaha Mel…. Thats brilliant. Welcome to the wine world girl, it is a wonderous land filled with MANY amazing adventures.
    Wow, I have never heard of the Silurian Sparkling before, the Google tells me it’s awesome. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

Elias Hallaj - July 3, 2014 Reply

Nice blog post and lovely photos Anna. I too think the cork photo is cool! I’m really looking forward to the NPC beer tasting (and some wine and food too) next Friday! I bought my ticket before I saw or read your post! 🙂

    Anna - July 3, 2014 Reply

    Thanks heaps Elias, appreciate your continued support, you ROCK! 🙂
    The cork story Ken told us was amazing, he is a wealth of information and had a couple of cork trees out front of his property too. Super interesting.
    Brilliant you are coming along to the W&F Spec, very much looking forward to seeing you there.

Tiffany - July 3, 2014 Reply

I once sat by the fire at Lerida Estate and ate hot truffle bread with hot truffle butter with superb Lerida whites. Remains a favourite memory to this day!

    Anna - July 3, 2014 Reply

    Boom…. Love a winery with a fireplace. 🙂 The gang at Lerida are amazing, might have to get on a visit before trufflefest finishes. Thanks for stopping by Tiffany. 🙂

Hannah - July 3, 2014 Reply

What an amazing guy!!!! Everyone want’s to be friends with Ken!!!

A little disappointed #oink wasn’t worked into this blog 😛

You are the best!!!!

    Anna - July 3, 2014 Reply

    I know right?! Ken really is a great guy, we are spoilt here at the Club the way he looks after us.
    Haha… #Oink will be worked into a blog post soon. 🙂
    And thank you little buddy, right back at chya. xxx

Louise - July 3, 2014 Reply

I recently discovered the Rutherglen region as part of the Wine Walkabout festival. It is a great and huge region, with fantastic producers of cheese and other food stuffs as well. A much enjoyed change to the ever beautiful but often visited Yarra Valley. The winary walkabout festival is very well organised, and is great for a weekender out of Melbourne.

    Anna - July 3, 2014 Reply

    Oh thats AWESOME Louise, totally jealous. The Rutherglen region is incrediable and like you say, not just for the wine. Will have to check out the Wine Walkabout festival, sounds right up my alley. Thanks for popping in Louise. 🙂

Alice - July 3, 2014 Reply

Really wishing I was in Canberra this Friday! The event sounds like a brilliant day of feast-ivities!

By the way, gotta love a chilly winters day, with a beautiful bottle or red, some bread & cheese! (#happymoments)

    Anna - July 3, 2014 Reply

    Road Trip….. YEASSSS! 🙂 You know you want tooooooo!
    Love a good bottle of red, some bread and a wheel of cheese, but you can keep the winter, lol, really not a cold person at all.

Mandy - The Complete Book - July 2, 2014 Reply

You do have the best perks with your job Anna! What a pity I don’t live closer to come with you – you know to help with all the market research and stuff.
Now, 1973 was a brilliant year – haa haa, it’s the year I was born so it had to be a good one, right? 😀
Lovely pics and you look adorable sitting on the barrels.
Have a beautiful day.
🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

    Anna - July 2, 2014 Reply

    Teehee, yes, I am super spoilt with my work perks. Yep, it stinks we live so far apart, we will have to get back onto our people designing that ‘beam me up’ machine. 🙂 I’m gonna go with yes to 1973, what a year indeed. ha! 🙂
    Thanks sweets, wishing you a lovely day too. Hugs. xx

Hotly Spiced - July 2, 2014 Reply

Your job certainly has its perks. I love the old cash registers. Even though it was a wintry day, the tour certainly must have been fascinating. I did a winery tour of McLaren Vale in SA a couple of years ago and we visited D’arenberg. That was my favourite because we got to make a bottle of wine xx

    Anna - July 2, 2014 Reply

    It really does Charlie. I’m one lucky lady I reckon. 🙂 And yes, I fell in love with the old cash register, actually most of the winery had fabulous nick-nacks worthy of a happy snap. Is D’arenberg the winery with the big castle? And how fantastic being able to make a bottle of wine. Must check it out. xxx

Susan - July 2, 2014 Reply

I love Helm wines but I’ve never visited the Winery – now I really want to go there. Terrific photos too. I love the one of the corks.

Lizzy (Good Things) - July 2, 2014 Reply

Wow, I’ve not been to Helm’s yet! Looks fantastic. Love your photos Anna… and bonus for the lucky winner! Yeah.

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