About 5% of the Yarra Valley’s vineyards were destroyed or damaged by the recent Victoria bushfires, but good quality wines will still be made in 2009, according to the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC).
Quoting estimates from the Yarra Valley Wine Growers Association, the AWBC said the devastating fires in early February had damaged or destroyed 29 vineyards in the area – a total area of about 140 hectares.
‘A full assessment of the impact on the wine sector will not be made for some weeks, but the majority of wineries in Victoria are operating normally, with grapes being crushed and visitors welcome,’ said the AWBC.
The organisation is also teaming up with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) to set up a website portal offering help, services and advice to those affected by the fires.
‘This is a profoundly sad episode for the state of Victoria and the country, but equally, it is the reality of Australian rural/agricultural life,’ said the AWBC.
‘The full impact and consequences are not yet known and will take some time to be completely understood.’
More than 200 people have now been confirmed dead as a result of the fires, which destroyed the Roundstone winery and restaurant, as well as damaging wineries belonging to Domaine Chandon, Lance Family Vineyards and Punt Road.
The main areas affected in Victoria beyond the Yarra Valley included Beechworth, Bendigo, Gippsland and Heathcote.
The AWBC is due to offer a preliminary assessment of Australia’s heat-affected 2009 wine harvest next Friday (27 February).
Written by Richard Woodard