At a gala dinner at Teage Ezard’s BLACK restaurant in Sydney overnight, Canberra winemaker Tim Kirk was named Australian Winemaker of the Year.
Each year Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine’s tasting panel selects eight finalists who have demonstrated through a track record of exemplary wines that they are worthy to be considered among Australia’s best. One of the eight is then chosen as ‘Australian Winemaker of the Year’.
Chairman of the panel Peter Forrestal singled out Clonakilla’s flagship Shiraz Viognier as Tim’s crowning achievement, noting “how important it is to Australian wine as the benchmark for the style and as a world-class red in it’s own right.”
This year’s finalists were selected from leading Australian wineries around the country, with two each coming from Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales, including Tim Kirk, Chief Winemaker and CEO at Clonakilla winery at Murrumbateman in the Canberra District .
In winning this award Tim Kirk joins an illustrious list of past winners including Vanya Cullen (Margaret River), Jeff Grosset (Clare Valley), Gary Farr (By Farr Wines, Geelong), Yalumba’s Louisa Rose, Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda fame and Steve Webber from De Bortoli.
Clonakilla board chairman Kiaran Kirk expressed the delight of the Kirk family in Tim’s success. “We are thrilled to see Tim win this significant award. Tim has built highly effectively on the foundation laid down by our father, Clonakilla founder John Kirk. Under Tim’s leadership, the winery’s flagship Shiraz Viognier is now widely regarded as one of Australia’s great reds, and that is a matter of genuine pride for the family and all the Clonakilla team.”
In accepting the award last night, Tim paid tribute to his father John and the team at Clonakilla, in particular manager of winemaking Bryan Martin and production manager Michael Lahiff. “It is fantastic to work together with committed, talented colleagues to craft wines from the beautiful Murrumbateman landscape, wines that are now sought after by wine lovers all over the world. This award is confirmation that Canberra has indeed arrived as one of Australia’s great wine regions.”