By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 at 11:22 am in Corkheads.
An industry statement was released this morning from the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation detailing the wine industry losses as a result of the devastating wildfires that began in the state of Victoria last week.
“Impacts range from the tragic loss of human life through to property damage, vineyard damage, smoke taint, and heat stress,” the press release states. “However, due to the unpredictable nature of bushfires, the impacts have been highly variable by region and individual enterprises.
So far, the wine producing areas of Beechworth, Bendigo, Gippsland, Heathcote, and the Yarra Valley have been directly threatened. While a full assessment of the impact on the wine sector won’t be available for weeks, the report stated that the majority of wineries in Victoria are operating normally with grapes being crushed and visitors
A more extensive assessment has been made for the Yarra Valley, the largest of the affected regions. The Yarra Valley Wine Growers Association estimates that 200 acres of vineyards have been damaged or destroyed. There will be no crops harvested from these vineyards this year. This represents about 3 percent) of the planted vineyard area. So the impact on grapes won’t be enormous on the size of that harvest.
Still, this tragedy comes at a time when Australia is facing challenges, from mercurial climate woes to low sales overseas. I’m keeping all these great people and their fabulous wines in my heart – and belly – at this time.