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Clonakilla Wines first vines were planted in 1971 by John Kirk. Clonakilla was the first commercial winery to open in the region and John Kirk is often referred to as the "father" of the wine industry in the area. The first wines from the estate, a Riesling and a Cabernet Shiraz were produced in 1976 after initial difficulties with droughts and lack of irrigation.
The CanBerra Wine region is a cool climate area and the wines produced by Clonakilla reflect this. Around 10,000 to 12,000 cases of wine are produced each year. The flagship wine is the Shiraz Viognier co-fermentation, produced from a selection of the best grapes in a single twelve hectare vineyard. The two grape types in this wine are co-fermented, with around five to ten percent Viognier and the rest Shiraz, depending on vintage conditions.This wine was first produced by Clonakilla in 1992 after Tim Kirk had spent time in the northern Rhone Valley, specifically visiting Guigal, and he decided that it was a style that he wanted to emulate and that it would be well suited to the Canberra region.