Canberra’s wine industry endured a tough 2020, after drought, smoke taint, hail and then COVID-19 restrictions wreaked havoc for winemakers across the district.
Picking is now underway for the 2021 vintage, and we are happy to report the news is much better for this year’s crops.
CEO of Murrumbateman’s Four Winds Vineyard, Sarah Collingwood – who turned her spoiled 2020 grapes into gin – says the 2021 vintage is shaping up to be a good one.
“We haven’t had a day over 40 degrees; the ripening’s taking a bit longer than we thought but the fruit’s looking really good,” she says.
“We’re actually picking chardonnay today which is so exciting because that’s the first thing that’s come off our vineyards this season.
“We’re just looking forward to getting them all in; once the grapes are in the winery it’s like they’re safe.”
Similarly, Lake George Winery had to do away with some of their 2020 grapes, but this year’s harvest is looking good after rainfall and, thankfully, the absence of smoke and hail.
“We’re seeing the shiraz is just flourishing,” said owner-operator Sarah McDougall. “Everything’s looking perfect.”
“We’ve already picked chardonnay for sparkling and it was really exciting to get fruit into the winery and kick off vintage.”
With hope on the horizon, Canberra’s famous cool climate wines will be on show for Canberra Wine Week, on this year from 21-29 March.
“We think that people will be out in droves… everyone’s super excited about the wine dinners and getting out while we can,” Ms McDougall said.
This year’s event will celebrate 50 years of Canberra District wine, with a calendar of events including dinners, grape stomping, glamping, music and entertainment and a tasting featuring 12 local winemakers at the launch event on 20 March.
“It’ll be nice to have a few more celebrations and festivals that people can come to,” Ms Collingwood said. “It’s nice to be able to welcome them out to be part of it.”
To stay up to date on Canberra Wine Week events and grab tickets, head to canberrawines.com.au