Clonakilla will not produce 2020 vintageBy Rupert Millar
Australian producer Clonakilla has said that “unacceptably high levels of smoke taint” across all varieties means it will not be producing a 2020 vintage.
The winery said in a statement that in meetings with its grape suppliers “across all varieties and vineyard sites” that it uses in New South Wales and its own vineyards in Murrumbateman, the levels of smoke taint were too high to consider producing a 2020 vintage.
Describing it as a “painful decision”, Tim Kirk, chief winemaker and CEO (pictured), stated that, nonetheless: “It is important to the Kirk family, to our growers and to the entire Clonakilla team that anyone who purchases our wine can have confidence that the Clonakilla label on the bottle is a guarantee of high quality.
“Having experienced a barrage of smoke from fires on every side this summer, that is not a guarantee we can deliver from the 2020 vintage.”
The winery had stocks of its “wonderful” 2018 and 2019 vintages it was stated, as well as museum stock, so “we will not run out of wine”.
“Losing a vintage is always a possibility. We have wines in reserve… for a situation just like this.”
The cellar door will remain open as usual and Kirk stressed that this set back “affects one vintage only”.
“Our hearts go out to growers in wine regions around the country who have suffered more devastating effects from the direct impact of bush fires, notably in the Adelaide Hills and Tumbarumba.
“Wherever you are, now is a great time to support your local wine industry.”
Other growers around fire-affected regions in Australia have likewise reported either a much reduced crop or no crop at all due to smoke taint or other more direct fire damage.
The fires of late December and January did not affect every Australian region however and there will be 2020 vintage wines being produced.
As well as charitable donations, those wishing to support Australian producers are encouraged to keep buying the wines.