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When Life Gives You Smoke Taint, Make Riesling Gin

By Friday 21 August 2020No Comments
Canberra District winery Four Winds Vineyard lost its crop to smoke from the summer’s bushfires this year but took the opportunity to use the grapes to make a Riesling gin.
The business teamed up with local distiller, The Canberra Distillery, to produce the gin.Four Winds Vineyard CEO Sarah Collingwood said that it was heart-breaking to make it through the drought with a great looking crop and then abort the harvest due to the high levels of smoke taint from the bushfires.

“After 12 months tending to the vines; pruning, shoot-thinning, fruit-dropping we couldn’t bear letting all the grapes go to waste,” she says.

“We ran through the options of things we could make: grape jelly, verjuice, brandy or gin.

“For us, gin made the most sense.”

Four Winds Vineyard has been run by Sarah’s family for the past 22 years and 2020 was the first vintage that the whole crop had been lost.

“It has been a strange year knowing that we have a large vineyard and the only thing that it produced this year was a gin,” Sarah says.

The Riesling gin is available from the Four Winds Vineyard cellar door and online at

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