Clonakilla winery is a family business, established by John Kirk in 1971 when he bought a 44 acre farm near the village of Murrumbateman. He planted a vineyard and named the property Clonakilla (‘meadow of the church’) after his grandfather’s farm in County Clare.
John produced the Canberra District’s first commercial vintage in 1976 – a Riesling Sauvignon Blanc and a Cabernet Shiraz. With the help of his sons, John completed the first winery building in 1977, a simple besser block construction. A bore was sunk in 1978 and larger plantings became feasible.
From 1978 to the present the vineyard has gradually expanded with Shiraz, Riesling and Viognier making up the bulk of the vineyard which now covers 40 acres.
Location of Vineyard
Clonakilla's 40 acres of vines is located near the village of Murrumbateman in New South Wales, just 50km north of Canberra, the capital of Australia. Our vineyards are inland and elevated, sitting at 2000 feet above sea level - in the cool Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. Our continental climate provides warm days and cool nights through the long late Summer resulting in complex, layered aromatics and finely textured palate structures.
At Clonakilla, we understand that our task as winemakers is simple: capture what is good and true in the landscape and bottle it for people to enjoy. It is a task we take seriously. We work to craft beautiful, evocative wines from the granitic soils of the hills around Murrumbateman in New South Wales. We pride ourselves on our crisp, fresh, aromatic whites and perfumed, spice-laden, medium-bodied reds. Compelling, complex aromas and fine palate texture are the Clonakilla hallmark.