Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Latest on wildfire damage in Yarra Valley

By Jessica Yadegaran
Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 5:18 pm in Corkheads.

Hello folks. I apologize for not posting since Tuesday. Combination of traffic court, a large story load, and my shock over the tragic death of Bottoms Up’s own Bill Brand.

But I do want to share the latest news from the Yarra Valley Winegrowers Association on the toll the wildfires have taken in that winegrowing region in the state of Victoria, Australia.

There have been deaths. Wine business proprietor Greg Leonard and his wife Gail died in the fires that swept through the Steels Creek area.  Wine distributor Rob Davy, his wife and their two children perished in the Kinglake fire.  Their deaths are part of the rising toll of over 200 people killed on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9 and 10.

In terms  of vineyards, there have been 29 vineyards damaged or destroyed, wholly or partially, by fire and this corresponds to an area of 385 acres.  This represents about 5 percent of the planted vineyard area in the Yarra Valley.

Property damage: Three small wineries, Roundstone and Yarra Yarra, and Calders have been destroyed. Read more about the area, which was weeks from starting harvest, in this piece in The Australian. Tomlinsons lost winery equipment, Immerse winery lost three accommodation buildings and a barn, Punt Road winery lost a machinery shed, Domaine Chandon suffered fire damage to two warehouses and Punch some damage to the winery.

In all, 35 wineries and vineyards have suffered some asset damage.

The general feeling, I’m told, is that while this is a tragedy, the majority of wineries are doing well and are open for business. The Association fears that the fires will have a negative impact on tourism and they want to ensure potential visitors that the Valley is looking beautiful and that they welcome everyone as usual.

Crushpad is holding a benefit tonight for Australian Bushfire Relief. Tickets are $30 and you can purchase them on the Crushpad website. Taste wines made in Victoria and help your mates. All you need to do is remember the wildfires that devastated California not long ago.

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  • Lynette

    I’d only recently found this column, and I’m sad to hear about Mr. Brand’s passing. Thank you for keeping things updated and I hope that you or someone else interested and able can keep it going!

  • Julee Cameron

    Thankyou for your mention and concern of our bushfires in Victoria. They have been devastating and truly heartbreaking. The only thing heavier than the smoke cloud, which has covered the State for week, is the incredible sense of loss. We will overcome this tragedy although we will never forget those who lost their lives to it.