Bushfires bring actors of Australian wine sector closer together

Australia’s wine sector is drawing together to provide support and advice to those affected by this season’s devastating fires. Wine Australia, Australian Grape & Wine, the Australian Wine Research Institute and viticultural experts, backed by the Federal Government, and state and regional wine agencies, are coordinating a response that will offer support and advice in the short-term and a longer-term action plan.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark says in some regions of South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, individual vineyards and wineries had suffered devastating damage which would take years to recover, and local regions and the sector more broadly would step in to assist. Mr Clark said it was important to keep the impact of the fires in context: “Australia is a very large country. A review of fire maps suggests a maximum of around 1500 hectares of vineyards fall within the fire affected regions to date. Even if all those vineyards were fire damaged – and they are not – it would only be about 1% of Australia’s total vineyard area.’

Our message is that Australia is hurting from the fires, but we are open for business

Australian Grape & Wine Chief Executive Tony Battaglene said there would be a coordinated response to both short-term relief and longer-term planning.

“Responses must include relief for those directly impacted, including those growers who might not be able to sell smoke-affected grapes. In the medium term, we must look to strengthen regional tourism and bring people back to the regions”, he said.

“Our message is that Australia is hurting from the fires, but we are open for business. We need donations to the relief funds, support for our emergency services, and consumers to buy our wine and visit our regions. It is important to note that the fire season is not over and our temporary relief may not last.”

A number of Aussie wines are on show at Vinexpo Paris, such as Hollick Estate from the Coonawarra region of South Australia.

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Photo: Tony Battaglene, Executive, Australian Grape & Wine