Ken Helm celebrated his 44th vintage in 2020. Over the years he has achieved many things, through dogged persistence on the one hand, vision on the other. Riesling has been an all-consuming interest, ultimately rewarded with rieslings of consistently high quality. He has also given much to the broader wine community, extending from the narrow focus of the Canberra District to the broad canvas of the international world of riesling: in ’00 he established the Canberra International Riesling Challenge. He retired as Chairman in ’16, but keeps an active eye on the Challenge. In ’14 his youngest child Stephanie (and husband Ben Osborne, Helm’s vineyard manager) purchased Yass Valley Wines, rebranding it as The Vintner’s Daughter (see separate entry). He also persuaded Stephanie to join him as winemaker at Helm. In ’17 Helm completed construction of a separate 40 000l insulated winery with a double-refrigeration system dedicated to the production of riesling, the old winery now producing cabernet sauvignon.
Ken Helm, fourth generation descendant of German vignerons who planted vines in Albury / Rutherglen in 1850s. Helm Wines of Murrumbateman, established by Ken and Judith Helm in 1973, are pioneers of the Canberra District, specialising in riesling and cabernet sauvignon. The specialising includes two dedicated wineries on the site for the exclusive production of the two wines. The wines have a long reputation for quality and consistency. The winery enjoys a five red star rating by Halliday and in Huon Hookes‘ Top Wineries of Australia. The cellar door is the heritage listed 1888 Toual School house which has been faithfully restored.