Wine Australia calls for support amid fire crisis

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Australia fires wine industry support

Related tags: Wine, Australia

Australian wine industry representatives have insisted the country’s vineyards are "open for business" despite devastating fires that have burned through major viticultural regions.

In an emotional media briefing in London, Stuart Barclay of Wine Australia thanked the UK trade for its “amazing” support.

Only around 1% of Australia’s 150,000 hectares of vineyards are in fire-affected areas, but some have suffered devastating losses.

Barclay added that as some growers may be unable to produce new wines in 2020, restaurants and bars could help the industry by buying older vintages.

"So many people’s livelihoods depend on wineries, so we’ll need a lot of support," said Barclay. "But we will bounce back.”

Wine regions in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria have been affected, though the Adelaide Hills area is the hardest hit.

"The impacts for some individuals are severe and our hearts go out to those who've lost vineyards, wineries, plant and equipment," Wine Australia said in a statement. 

Barclay said it was still too early in the season to assess the full impact of the fires on the 2020 crop.

Vines not directly destroyed can still be damaged by smoke taint, where compounds are absorbed through the grape skin, resulting in a burnt or medicinal taste.

However, this damage is reversible, and the impacts will not last multiple years. 

Wine Australia is working with producers to help manage the effects of the fires, backed up by years of domestic research and studies in other fire-hit wine regions such as California.

Numerous UK restaurants and bars are running fundraising activities to support the bushfire relief effort. A list is available to view on Wine Australia's website here.

Those wishing to add a fundraising activity to the list can contact pbzzhavpngvbaf@jvarnhfgenyvn.pbz​.

Related topics: Business

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