Saturday, August 8, 2020

Australia’s wine sector rallies amid continuing fire crisis

Australia’s wine sector is rallying together to provide support, advice and action for those affected by the ongoing bushfires.

The crisis has waged since the fires first began in July 2019 and continues to destroy homes and land across the country’s south.

According to the CEO of Wine Australia, vineyards and wineries across some regions of South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have suffered “devastating damage which would take years to recover”.

Wine Australia has, along with 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 to offer support and advice in the short term and a longer-term action plan.

However, Andreas Clark, CEO of Wine Australia, Clark said it would be several weeks before it would be possible to get a real picture of bushfire impacts in the affected areas.

“In some areas where people have been evacuated it will be some time before it is safe to access vineyards,” he said.

“There is also the fact that assessment of the impact on vines is complex. It is easy to see when vines are burned but often it takes much longer to establish the damage caused by heat.”

Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of Australian Grape & Wine, 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.”

Donations to help relief and recovery efforts can be made here.

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