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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 was always going to come back to agribusiness. After years of developing his business and leadership skills across several large corporate enterprises, both in funds and property management, Ben took up the opportunity that is Contentious. He now brings his refined business acumen, innovative flair and his ability to be both forward-focussed and across the day-to-day, to the winery.

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

From small seeds, mighty vineyards grow. Jeremy has a long-standing passion for wine and food, renowned attention to detail and an adaptable methodical approach. Since 2016 when we settled on the Lambert Vineyard, Jeremy has been applying his skills to the making and developing of our wines. His debut vintage saw several awards and his creative drive and technique have been on the up ever since.

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 –  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 the 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 to have him share his expertise with us. Turns out the terroir and cool-climate of the Canberra Region is too hard to resist.

Darren - Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSW

Darren Gimber - General Manager 

After starting as a silver service waiter at just 14, Dara went on to become a British Army chef, serving troops in field kitchens, senior officials and even royalty. After a decade of running his own boutique hotel in the Scottish Highlands, he answered the call of the Aussie outdoors and moved across the pond. We’re stoked to have his experience and genuine nature at Contentious. 

Inkook- Contentious Character|Canberra Wineries|Canberra & NSW

Davis Chang – Head Chef

Bringing his extensive experience in Canberra's thriving hospitality scene and a passion for food and wine is our Head Chef, Davis. What makes him brilliant is his attention to detail and ability to enjoy every aspect of the kitchen. And when it comes to wine? He loves a fruity drop like our Rosé and Verdelho, which Davis says is historically hard to find in the Canberra wine region!

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. His favourite dish to make (and eat) is woodfired pizza. 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 Manager

With years of experience in sales and her bubbly, outgoing nature, Victoria gets our wines out there as well as organises functions at the vineyard. When not connecting with our clients and partners, you’ll find Victoria riding her horses, walking her dogs and entertaining her loved ones - all with a glass of Chardonnay in hand.

Mandy Paterson - Cellar Door Manager

Mandy heads up our Cellar Door and manages our Wine Club with unrivalled warmth and friendliness, and a non-contentious love and knowledge of wine. The 2021 Verdelho is her current go-to - "it's like a fruit salad in a glass!"

 

Isaac Tong - Sales & Marketing Manager

A strong, bold Shiraz with a lot of chocolate is what Isaac loves to indulge in, when he's not driving our sales and marketing with innovation and precision. He's both creative and a self-proclaimed numbers man, who also loves the simple, beautiful things in life like a classic Wamboin sunset.

Gemma Kirk - Front of House Manager

A contagious smile is what Gemma greets our customers with, before ensuring they have a wonderful time at the winery. Gemma will bring out your contrasting opinions, all in the name of fun. And she has a thing for full-bodied reds - after all, they look better on Instagram, right?

MEET SOME CONTENTIOUS CHARACTERS


Ben Jarrett – Managing Director

Having come from the land, Ben was always going to come back to agribusiness. After years of developing his business and leadership skills across large funds and property management enterprises, Ben took up the opportunity that is Contentious. He now brings his refined business acumen and innovative flair to the winery.


Jeremy Wilson - Chief Winemaker, Director

From small seeds, mighty vineyards grow. Jeremy has a long-standing passion for wine and food and since 2016 when we settled on the Lambert Vineyard, Jeremy has been applying himself to the making and developing of our wines. His debut vintage saw several awards and his creative drive and technique have been on the up ever since.

Ross Appleton – Director

With a travel management career that saw him jet-setting around the world, Ross now puts 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.

Ash Horner – Consultant Winemaker

Growing up in the 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 to have him share his expertise with us. Turns out the terroir and cool-climate of the Canberra Region is too hard to resist.

 

Darren Gimber - General Manager 

After starting as a silver service waiter at just 14, Dara went on to become a British Army chef, serving troops in field kitchens and even royalty. After a decade of running his own boutique hotel in the Scottish Highlands, he answered the call of the Aussie outdoors and moved across the pond. We’re stoked to have his experience and genuine nature at Contentious.

Victoria Cowlishaw – Business Manager

With years of experience in sales and her bubbly, outgoing nature, Victoria gets our wines out there as well as organises functions at the vineyard. When not connecting with our clients and partners, you’ll find Victoria with her horses, dogs and her loved ones - often with a glass of Chardonnay in hand.

 

Mandy Paterson - Cellar Door Manager

Mandy heads up our Cellar Door and manages our Wine Club with unrivalled warmth and friendliness, and a non-contentious love and knowledge of wine. The 2021 Verdelho is her current go-to - "it's like a fruit salad in a glass!"

Isaac Tong - Sales & Marketing Manager

A strong, bold Shiraz with a lot of chocolate is what Isaac loves to indulge in, when he's not driving our sales and marketing with innovation and precision. He's both creative and a self-proclaimed numbers man, who also loves the simple, beautiful things in life like a classic Wamboin sunset.

 

Gemma Kirk - Front of House Manager

A contagious smile is what Gemma greets our customers with, before ensuring they have a wonderful time at the winery. Gemma will bring out your contrasting opinions, all in the name of fun. And she has a thing for full-bodied reds - after all, they look better on Instagram, right?