More than AUS$8m of fruit was lost during the 2009 heatwave and bushfires in the Yarra Valley.
Tony Jordan, president of the Yarra Valley Winegrowers Association, estimates the region lost around 4000 tonnes of fruit, valued at $2000 per tonne.
The total value of lost wine sales is difficult to estimate, according to the Association.
Jordan played down the short harvest. ‘A fall of 25% is a blow but is within the range of year-to-year variation that we might expect to see,’ he said.
Producers in the region say January’s four-day heatwave was to blame for most of the crop loss, with February’s fires damaging just 4% of the Valley’s 3800ha of vineyard.
‘The greatest losses were down to the heat spike. Only 30 vineyards suffered fire damage. Vineyards did get burned – mainly singed by grass fires – but 85% of the all the vines hit will recover within 2 years,’ Jordan added.
Three small wineries were destroyed by fire.
Written by Rebecca Gibb