Canberra wineries are bottling the reds of the 2015 vintage but there's something extra special about the first drop packaged this week at Eden Road Wines.
As the 4-Tonne Project labels licked over each bottle Four Winds Vineyard business manager Sarah Collingwood reflected on how a bit of ingenuity and co-operation has meant a glut of grapes has generated almost $30,000 for Companion House, which helps vulnerable people including refugees.
Rather than letting a glut of grapes wither on the vine, a solution presented itself where Four Winds Vineyards provided the fruit for wine, Alex McKay from Collectors Wines and Hamish Young and Nick Spencer at Eden Road would make and bottle it.
"For us the real focus was making sure these grapes went toward helping people locally," she said.
"We discovered Companion House had lost some of its federal funding so in part it was to help plug a gap there. We do have refugees and asylum seekers living here in Canberra and that we are able to help them out is fantastic."
From each $200 case of the Shiraz, $174 will go to clients of Companion House, including Canberrans who have survived torture or trauma. $26 a case will be retained for the cost of bottles, cartons, labels and postage.
"So far we've sold 164 cases and transferred $28,536 to Companion House and 225 people have helped us to do that," she said.
"I think we will end up with 250 or so cases so there are about 90 cases still to go."
Companion House director Kathy Ragless said the significant donation gave her organisation flexibility to target money to the needs of individuals and families where government assistance wasn't an option.
So far the donation has provided direct support for more than 120 people.
"We are not using it for any running or staffing costs it all goes to grants of assistance to people," she said.
"The money is used for emergency relief, food, bus tickets and pharmaceuticals for people without income, particularly asylum seekers, but also others who are vulnerable.
"Also for driving lessons for younger people, supporting people to study, or join sports teams and sometimes for migration support for those who don't have any other way of putting their case forward."
Eden Road wine maker Nick Spencer said the region's 2015 Shiraz vintage was "superb" but warmer and drier than previous years and this was evident in the flavour.
"Normally in a cooler vintage they can be spicy and structural," he said. "This wine almost has a blackcurrant characteristic to it. It's lovely and juicy but also ripe and powerful."
The acclaimed winemaker won the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy in 2009 with Hamish Young for their 2008 The Long Road Shiraz.
He said producing a bottle of wine took great effort but said the project's collaborative approach embodied the idea that many hands made for light work.
"Individually they are small efforts but working together like this we're able to do something really good," he said.
"Particularly in the agricultural industry, but in all sorts of industries, there's excess product or raw materials that could be produced. Hopefully it's a concept that not only the wine industry can pick up on, but other industries as well."
Find out more at http://fourwindsvineyard.com.au/the-4-tonne-project/