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ABOUT US

 


WE’LL GIVE YOU PLENTY TO TALK ABOUT.

Contentious Character, one Canberra’s vineyards, is cool-climate winery, set in the hills of Wamboin, just 20 minutes from the airport.

Whether you come to ours on a tour of the Canberra district wine region, or our boutique Australian wines come to you via our online shop and Wine Club, we’ll give you plenty to talk about.

We’re a single vineyard winery serving up quality food and wine. We grow our own grapes, sell our own wines, and make our own good times. 

You’re welcome to join us from Thursday to Monday when we throw open our cellar door, fire up the pizza oven and serve fresh local produce, paired with our wines.

Every story starts somewhere. Ours harks back to the Lambert Vineyards. After 24 years, the original winemakers moved on, we moved in, and set about making the place our own. We overhauled the kitchen, tended the grounds and gave the restaurant a facelift. 

We didn’t touch the old vineyards though, we may be contentious, but we’re not crazy. Instead, we’re continuing in the tradition of cool-climate wine-making, but throwing in a few twists.

HARD GROUND. SOFT HEART.
CONTENTIOUS CHARACTER.

Here in the hills of Canberra, our weather’s all about contrast. The swings from hot sunny days to cold nights are perfect for cool-climate winemaking. With conditions akin to Continental Europe, our premium wines take on an elegant, nuanced character. It’s a lovable contrast to what many expect from an Aussie wine.

It’s not just the weather that’s in our favour; we’re lucky with the soil in the Canberra district wine region too, with a pH ranging from neutral to mildly acidic, and drainage helped by shallow clay loams.

At one of the region’s highest elevations, our undulating hills give every vine the chance to breathe fresh air, and bask in the sun. 

Meanwhile, our open cellar door and kitchen mean locals and visitors alike are free to enjoy the fruits of our hard work and trade the odd insult over quality food and wine.

HARD GROUND. SOFT HEART.
CONTENTIOUS CHARACTER.

Here in the hills of Canberra, our weather’s all about contrast. The swings from hot sunny days to cold nights are perfect for cool-climate winemaking. With conditions akin to Continental Europe, our premium wines take on an elegant, nuanced character. It’s a lovable contrast to what many expect from an Aussie wine.

It’s not just the weather that’s in our favour; we’re lucky with the soil in the Canberra district wine region too, with a pH ranging from neutral to mildly acidic, and drainage helped by shallow clay loams.

At one of the region’s highest elevations, our undulating hills give every vine the chance to breathe fresh air, and bask in the sun. 

Meanwhile, our open cellar door and kitchen mean locals and visitors alike are free to enjoy the fruits of our hard work and trade the odd insult over quality food and wine.

BIG SHOES TO FILL

Contentious Character builds on the Lambert estate’s reputation for award-winning boutique wines. The first plantings were made in 1990, and the 20 acre vineyard became known for producing complex Australian wines, with distinctive ‘old-world’ character.

We’ve got a selection of these excellent wines available as limited edition Founder’s Museum and Founder’s Reserve wines. Great value for their vintage, they’ve already developed a mature character and have mellowed to perfection.

2017 was the first Contentious Character vintage, adopting a slightly more contemporary, New World style, offering the perfect counterpoint to the excellent Lambert wines.

 

BIG SHOES TO FILL

Contentious Character builds on the Lambert estate’s reputation for award-winning boutique wines. The first plantings were made in 1990, and the 20 acre vineyard became known for producing complex Australian wines, with distinctive ‘old-world’ character.

We’ve got a selection of these excellent wines available as limited edition Founder’s Museum and Founder’s Reserve wines. Great value for their vintage, they’ve already developed a mature character and have mellowed to perfection.

2017 was the first Contentious Character vintage, adopting a slightly more contemporary, New World style, offering the perfect counterpoint to the excellent Lambert wines.

 

MEET SOME CONTENTIOUS CHARACTERS

Ben Jarrett-Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSW

Ben Jarrett - Managing Director

Having come from the land, Ben has always had a desire to come back to agribusiness, with Contentious Character providing the perfect opportunity.  Over the years Ben has developed his business and leadership skills across several large corporate enterprises, both in funds and property management. With experience in sales and marketing, team leadership, corporate strategy and project management.

An accomplished thought leader, Ben has great business acumen, with a keen eye for opportunity and innovative flair. Forward focussed, whilst still across all the day to day delivery and, ability to think strategically to generate optimum outcomes.

Jeremy Wilson|Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSWJermy Wilson – Chief Winemaker

From small seeds, mighty vineyards grow. From the early days Jeremy has had a real passion for wine and food, this enjoyment of flavours was developed over time and when we settled on the Lambert Vineyard in 2016 was able to put into practice. His attention to detail and methodical approach has been critical in his ability to adapt and continue to develop the wines behind Contentious Character.

His debut vintage saw several awards, giving the credentials and confidence in his creative drive and technique as being on point and, marking the foundation of his winemaking approach which we see today.

Ross Appleton - Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSW

Ross Appleton – Director

With a travel management career that saw him jet-setting around the world, Ross decided it’s time to stay put a while, and put his customer experience skills to work in a place he’s proud to call home. Detail-focused, but never afraid to get his hands dirty, you’ll find him dashing from vineyard, to office, to kitchen, to warehouse, often all in the same day.

Tony Mansfield - Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSW

Tony Mansfield – Brand & Marketing, Director

No stranger to managing change and opposing views, the diplomatic skills Tony honed as manager of leading global communications agencies are put to great use at Contentious Character. With a head for business, a nose for wine and a passion for yoga, all find their balance in the tranquil cool climate hills of our vineyard, where he’s embracing the chance to step into the Lambert’s shoes and join a community of likeminded producers.

Ash Horner -- Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSW

Ash Horner – Consultant Winemaker

Growing up in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, it’s no surprise that a love of wine is in Ash’s blood. And while his heart will always be in the Hunter, where he makes his own wines (the excellent Horner Wines) we’re lucky enough to have him shares his expertise with us. Turns out the terroir and cool-climate of the Canberra Region was an allure too hard to resist.

Darren - Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSW

Darren Gimber - General Manager 

Hospitality is in Dara’s blood. After starting as a silver service waiter at just 14, Dara went on to be a chef in the British Army. He’s served troops in field kitchens, senior government officials and even royalty (in a castle, no less). Dara then ran his own boutique hotel in the Scottish Highlands for almost a decade until finally, the call of the Aussie outdoors was too hard to resist. We’re stoked to have his experience and genuine, friendly nature at Contentious. 

Inkook- Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSW

Inkook Kim – Head Chef

Inkook, or Kooky as we call him, is our always-smiling Head Chef. He is passionate about using fresh ingredients and is motivated by preparing dishes for people he loves. Recently a new dad, making food for his son is now his favourite thing to do in the kitchen, surpassing even pizza. After a hard day at work, nothing is more relaxing and refreshing to Kooky than spending time with his family.

Hyeonggu Kang- Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSW

Hyeonggu Kang - Chef de Partie

Driven by creating joyful, positive memories for our guests via their tastebuds is our Chef de Partie, Hyeonggu aka Damon. When we asked him his favourite dish to prepare, he replied with woodfired pizza - and it's his favourite thing to eat too! Damon admires the time, skill and effort that goes into the art and he's nailed it all, if you ask us. 

VIctoria Cowlishaw- Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSW

Victoria Cowlishaw – Business & Events Manager

Bringing years of experience in sales and marketing and her bubbly, outgoing and friendly nature to our winery is Victoria. She gets our wines out there as well as organises private and corporate functions at the vineyard. When not building great rapport with our clients and partners, you’ll find Victoria riding her horses, walking her dogs and entertaining the loved ones in her life - all with a glass of Chardonnay in hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEET SOME CONTENTIOUS CHARACTERS

Jeremy Wilson - Chief Winemaker, Director

From small seeds, mighty vineyards grow. From the early days Jeremy has had a real passion for wine and food, this enjoyment of flavours was developed over time and when we settled on the Lambert Vineyard in 2016 was able to put into practice. His attention to detail and methodical approach has been critical in his ability to adapt and continue to develop the wines behind Contentious Character.

His debut vintage saw several awards, giving the credentials and confidence in his creative drive and technique as being on point and, marking the foundation of his winemaking approach which we see today.

Ben Jarrett – Managing Director

Having come from the land, Ben has always had a desire to come back to agribusiness, with Contentious Character providing the perfect opportunity.  Over the years Ben has developed his business and leadership skills across several large corporate enterprises, both in funds and property management. With experience in sales and marketing, team leadership, corporate strategy and project management.

An accomplished thought leader, Ben has great business acumen, with a keen eye for opportunity and innovative flair. Forward focussed, whilst still across all the day to day delivery and, ability to think strategically to generate optimum outcomes.

Ross Appleton – Director

With a travel management career that saw him jet-setting around the world, Ross decided it’s time to stay put a while, and put his customer experience skills to work in a place he’s proud to call home. Detail-focused, but never afraid to get his hands dirty, you’ll find him dashing from vineyard, to office, to kitchen, to warehouse, often all in the same day.

Tony Mansfield – Brand & Marketing, Director

No stranger to managing change and opposing views, the diplomatic skills Tony honed as manager of leading global communications agencies are put to great use at Contentious Character. With a head for business, a nose for wine and a passion for yoga, all find their balance in the tranquil cool climate hills of our vineyard, where he’s embracing the chance to step into the Lambert’s shoes and join a community of likeminded producers.

Ash Horner – Consultant Winemaker

Growing up in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, it’s no surprise that a love of wine is in Ash’s blood. And while his heart will always be in the Hunter, where he makes his own wines (the excellent Horner Wines) we’re lucky enough to have him shares his expertise with us. Turns out the terroir and cool-climate of the Canberra Region was an allure too hard to resist.

 

Darren Gimber - General Manager 

Hospitality is in Dara’s blood. After starting as a silver service waiter at just 14, Dara went on to be a chef in the British Army. He’s served troops in field kitchens, senior government officials and even royalty (in a castle, no less). Dara then ran his own boutique hotel in the Scottish Highlands for almost a decade until finally, the call of the Aussie outdoors was too hard to resist. We’re stoked to have his experience and genuine, friendly nature at Contentious.