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John Kirk

Dr. John Kirk's family owned the Hydro Hotel in Lisdoonvarna.

When he returned home from boarding school in the summer, he was given the job of looking after the bar and stocking the cellars.

He started to read about the great European wine regions and further developed this knowledge in college.

After graduating from Cambridge, he became a scientist and was brought out to Australia.

In Canberra, he found no vineyards there and planted his first vines in 1971.

He named the property "Clonakilla" after his grandfather's farm in Clare and produced his first commercial vintage in 1976.

This was a Riesling/Sauvignon and a Cabarnet/Shiraz.

The vineyard gradually expanded with Shiraz, Riesling, and Viognier making up the bulk of the vineyard.

John Kirk's son Tim Kirk has developed an exciting blend of Viognier/Shiraz that has received 5 * reviews.

The 1998 vintage was named New South Wales wine of the year and the crowning achievement was reached, after numerous awards in the intervening years in 2013,when Tim Kirk was nominated as Gourmet Traveller's Winemaker of the Year for 2013.  This has elevated Clonakilla high on the world stage.


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