Seven words from an elderly Jesuit priest changed the course of Tim Kirk’s life and set the stage for Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier to become one of Australia’s great wines.
“It was back in the mid 90s. I was teaching religious education at Melbourne’s Xavier College. I was well and truly bitten by the wine bug by this stage and during breaks from teaching I’d drive up the Hume Highway to work with dad at the family winery in Murrumbateman.”
“Teaching at a Jesuit school I had the opportunity every year to attend a prayer retreat. During one retreat I was doing my best to pray, but kept coming up against a very particular distraction. I confessed to my retreat director that I was having a struggle. Every time I tried to reflect on the scriptures I found myself thinking about the best ways to manage Shiraz ferments. “What am I supposed to do about this constant distraction?” I asked him.
He replied, “Why do you assume it’s a distraction?”
This wise response gave me the courage to stop pushing away what had become a deep desire in me: to become the full time winemaker in my family business. At that point I opened my mind to the possibility that making wine might just be part of a bigger plan for my life. Within six months I was back at Murrumbateman as Clonakilla winemaker and General Manager.”