This time a year ago Bryan Martin was standing at his front door watching thick smoke roll in across the undulating hills of Murrumbateman, covering his vineyard in a cloud of uncertainty.
The fires had just started, no one really knew what to expect, but by early February the district's winemakers' worst fears came true: the harvest was lost.
"In the end we had eight weeks of smoke and that was too much for the vines," Mr Martin said.
"The fruit tasted fine but as soon as we started with micro ferments we knew we'd lost it all."
The smoke was invasive, and the fermentation brought out a bitterness, a taste likened to licking an ashtray.
"Your body reacted like it was a poison, it was just awful," Mr Martin said.
The smoke also had another effect - the vines themselves stopped growing due to a lack of sunlight.
When it cleared, they had another growth spurt. The trees in Mr Martin's little orchard did too.
"We had apple trees flowering in March, everything was completely mixed up," he said.
But it turned out that 2020 wasn't all bad.
"We hadn't had any winter rain for three years, things were pretty bad," he said.
"This time last year my dam was empty and it's been full since March.
"And if we had to lose any harvest, in hindsight, to lose one that had been so affected by the drought was easier to take."
Mr Martin said when restaurants began to close down in March sales were affected.
"But then everyone's websites went crazy, we've been lucky that wine, alcohol in general, has been in high demand right through the pandemic," he said.
It was panic buying at its finest.
Not that Mr Martin is a man prone to panic. It would be fair to suggest he might be one of the most laid back people, let alone winemakers, you could ever meet.
He's quietly spoken, a deep thinker, a fine cook and talented writer.
After working as a winemaker for several of the district's vineyards, most noticeably Clonakilla from 2004 until early 2020, he's now running his own vineyard, Ravensworth, full-time.
His first riesling in 2012 won the International Riesling Challenge and he's picked up a slew of awards since. His wines are sought after by restaurants and collectors alike.
Martin and his wife Jocelyn bought a block in 1999 and started planting in 2000. A local businessman had some vines across the road, and they paired up and created Ravensworth in 2003. Their first wine was a 2005 shiraz viognier.
The vineyard has just been named as a finalist in the Young Gun of Wine Vineyard of the Year awards, a national initiative which shines a light on the wider picture - the pursuit of fruit and wine quality, vine health, innovation and sustainability.
Sarah and Anthony McDougall's Lake George Winery was also selected.
Anthony McDougall said they were extremely honoured to be acknowledged amongst such a calibre of finalists.
"To be the first vineyard in Australia to trial the agri-laser and transition one of the oldest vineyards in the Canberra District to chemical-free and sustainable farming has been enjoyable," he said.
"I've enjoyed eight years of working in the industry, going from nothing more than a lover of wine, to a grower and wine maker, it's been an incredible journey."
The national winners will be announced in February.
As the new year looms, some effects of 2020 are coming to light. There's no new-release riesling, and some lighter reds should be on the shelves too. But Mr Martin is feeling optimistic.
He's had the chance to play with some different grapes.
His The Long Way Around bianco and tinto wines epitomise the year that was, as he collected grapes from around Australia, mainly the Margaret River region and even some from Tasmania to make a wine in Murrumbateman.
An "eclectic mix of esoterica", he calls them.
The label has a twisting, turning map, 5000 kilometres across the Nullarbor to Murrumbateman via boat, truck and train.
"I remember the truck turning up in the middle of the night with these plastic barrels full of wine and thinking 'What a year'," he said.
Now the ACT is welcoming visitors from all states, Canberra District wineries are reaping the benefits. Despite some COVID-19 restrictions still being in place, cellar doors are proving a popular destination.
Wineries with onsite accommodation have also noticed a surge in short-stay holidays.
At Lake George Winery, Sarah McDougall is busy with cellar-door tastings, diners in the new Westering Restaurant and her accommodation options. And there's been a steady increase in sales across the board too, with people turning to Australian wines.
"Just this week we sold out of our multi-award-winning riesling, but don't worry we won't run out of wine," she said.
"It's going to be tight leading into our vintage of 2021, but we are looking at a really sizable crop at this stage."