President of the Canberra District Wine Industry Association John Leyshon says it's too early to tell if the local harvest will be affected by smoke taint after the region's disastrous summer.
While wineries in the Tumbarumba district and in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia were destroyed by bushfires, no wineries in the Canberra region were directly affected.
"The impacts for some individuals in these grape and wine regions are severe and our hearts go out to those who have lost vineyards, the lifeblood of their wineries, as well as plant and equipment," Leyshon said.
"We in the Canberra district are coming to terms with these losses and how the bushfires will affect us in 2020. The flow on effects from these events are far reaching and as a farming community we will feel it keenly."
Leyshon, from Mallaluka winery, said workshops were being held nationally with the Australian Wine Research Institute to let growers and winemakers know what the best practice was to determine the level of smoke taint, if any, in vineyards.
"We're working with the AWRI and NSW Wine on a coordinated effort to have our grapes tested a few weeks before harvest to measure the smoke taint levels," he said.
"The overarching thought is that in most areas with smoke-exposed fruit, it is still too early in the season to tell if the wine will be affected at all."
The first batch of grape samples left Canberra on January 28 and subsequent samples will be dispatched to the AWRI in Adelaide at regular intervals until a reliable analysis is obtained from across the region. Most of the district's wineries will be tested during the process.
Leyshon says the biggest threat to local wineries is fresh smoke from a nearby fire, rather than the smoke haze that has settled over the district. With most fire activity to the south and east of Canberra at this stage, Leyshon says, while everyone is taking every precaution, the immediate fire threat to the district's wineries is not large.
Leyshon said the district would pull together to help the Tumbarumba region as much as they could. Only three hours west of Canberra, the fires burnt 19 wineries in the area with Obsession Wines, Johansen Wines and Courabyra Wines severely affected.
"From a regional community perspective, building our smaller regional centres, such as Tumbarumba, back up is vital in keeping the Australian wine industry going and in return it keeps our thriving Canberra wine district alive too," Leyshon said.