The Canberra district wine region is set to lose tens of millions of dollars with many winemakers deciding to abandon their entire harvest due to bushfire smoke taint.
Clonakilla, Mount Majura, Shaw Wines and Poachers Pantry are among those who have just made the decision to scrap their 2020 vintages altogether. Others are still waiting on final results before they make the heart-breaking decision to drop their grapes.
Chief winemaker at Clonakilla Tim Kirk estimates his losses alone will be more than $1 million.
"If your reason for existing is to make something beautiful then you're going to have to accept that there are seasons where you have to make difficult and, as it turns out, expensive decisions," Kirk said.
The losses take into account not only wine and grape sales, but also lost revenue from a significant drop in tourism numbers.
Angus Barnes, executive officer of the NSW Wine Industry Association, of which the Canberra District is a member, said the 2020 vintage would go down as one of the most challenging the district has faced.
"The Canberra District is a premium producer, it produces around 2000 tonnes of grapes every year," Barnes said.
"The grape loss alone is going to be multiple millions of dollars, the resulting wine that won't be made is tens of millions and I suspect if you put tourism on top of that, and it has been a relatively tough time in that area as well, 2020 is going to cause a serious dent."
Jonathan Kobus, executive branch manager for VisitCanberra, said the ACT Government was investing in a campaign to support the economic recovery of Canberra's tourism and hospitality sector.
Wineries which have been affected are also able to access funding through the ACT Government's disaster recovery funding.
Canberra District Wine Industry Association secretary Sarah McDougall, who is a winemaker at Lake George Winery, said it was too early to put a final figure on losses until more grape analysis results were returned.
"It's important to remember too that there is wine around," she said.
"The district had great vintages in 2018 and 2019 and we're all discussing contingency plans if we have to drop this one harvest."
The association, which is made up of local winemakers. is meeting on Wednesday night to discuss contingency plans.