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McGuigan, Tyrrell step up for stricken Draytons

Four giants of the Australian wine industry have offered to take over the vintage at Drayton’s Family Wines following the death of winemaker Trevor Drayton.

This morning the Drayton family accepted the offer from veteran Hunter Valley winemakers Bruce Tyrrell, Brian McGuigan, Phil Ryan of Mount Pleasant Estate and Patrick Auld of Pooles Rock Wines.

Trevor, 52, and another man, understood to have been a welding contractor, died in an explosion at Drayton’s Family Wines at Pokolbin. Assistant winemaker William Rikard-Bell, 27, survived but with burns to 80% of his body.

The Drayton family, parents Max and Caroline and their sons – Trevor’s brothers – John, Greg and Peter, accepted the offer to take over production of wine for the 2008 vintage.

That characters of the status of Tyrell and McGuigan and their colleagues should step in so promptly indicates the calibre of winemaker all consider necessary to replace Drayton – and the co-operation that exists the Australian wine industry.

Tyrrell, said, ‘We’ll probably never know just how much did for the industry.’

There have been tributes from all over the world, including from Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Brendan Nelson.

Winemakers’ Federation of Australia president, David Clarke, said he had never had as many emails about anyone as he has about Drayton since yesterday’s tragedy.

‘He was a considerate, helpful and thoroughly decent person,’ said Clarke.

The cause of the explosion are still unclear. Police are yet to confirm reports that welding work had ignited ethanol fumes within the plant.

A police spokeswoman said forensic investigators entered the site on Friday morning to investigate the cause of the blast.

Written by Chris Snow

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