Anyone following the news lately will be well aware of the terrible bushfires in Australia and the heartbreaking consequences of these. Fires have raged continuously since around September of last year causing unprecedented devastation. They burn in every single one of Australia’s states and are a stark reminder of the power that Mother Nature has over all of us. These fires have caused tragic loss of life; homes and properties have been destroyed and wildlife devastated.
Sadly too, there have been stories of wineries which have faced significant losses of vineyards and facilities in these fires as they have swept through the country and whether they are suppliers, friends or colleagues of ours or not, we are still deeply saddened to learn of the tragic events that have unravelled.
I have been in touch with our suppliers to check that they are safe and well and I am relieved to say that I have heard back from all to say that nobody has been injured. Our own-label suppliers, Bleasdale, say that they have lost some of their chardonnay and pinot gris, and Shaw + Smith have reported that the fires burnt up to the boundary of their Lenswood vineyard but no further, which is a real blessing, all things considered.
Thankfully, at the time of writing, all reports back from those wineries that we work closely with have been of lucky escapes and are crucially good news, despite all the tragedy. What is particularly harrowing though, aside from the unanimous sense of worry and nervousness from our suppliers is how ‘close to home’ these fires are for a lot of people, with one of our suppliers telling me that he knows two of the people whose lives have been taken by the horrendous blazes.
Wine Australia’s CEO Andreas Clark said that, ‘On 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.’
It is also going to take several weeks to assess the damage with some growers still unable to return to their properties. Having said all that, to put this into some context, only 1% of Australia’s vineyards lie within the fire-affected regions and not all of these have been affected.
The best thing we can do to support our growers at this stage is to carry on buying their wines. There are several fundraising efforts set up to help provide relief too.
We send our heartfelt sympathies to all those affected and with the fire season still not over, we sincerely hope that everyone remains safe. We will endeavour to keep members updated.
In the meantime, Wine Australia have suggested the following relief funds for those that wish to donate.
Donations can be made to the Australian Red Cross (www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/disaster-relief-and-recovery-donate) or the Adelaide Hills in South Australia (www.adelaidehillswine.com.au/fireappeal). Donations can be made to Queensland’s Granite Belt Drought Assist via Facebook.