Australian Vintage suffers Adelaide Hills losses

13 January, 2020 by Andy Young

The recent bushfire in the Adelaide Hills has caused some infrastructure and vine damage to Australian Vintage Limited’s (AVL) Charleston vineyard.

Winemakers and producers across the region are now working together to assess the damage that was caused by the devastating Cuddle Creek fire, which hit just before Christmas.

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As TheShout reported last week, around one-third of the Adelaide Hills’ vineyards stood in the path of the fire including more than 60 grape growers and producers, many of which are small family businesses that are now dealing with the shock of having lost everything.

AVL owns three vineyards in the region and said that the 30-hectare Charleston vineyard was impacted by the fire.

“There is some infrastructure damage on this vineyard mainly relating to irrigation and trellising and some heat damage to the vines,” said Chief Financial Officer Mike Noack.

He added: “It is too early to accurately assess the impact on the Charleston yield but we expect that about half the crop from this vineyard has been lost which equates to around 200 tonnes.

“We are still assessing the impact on our Adelaide Hills third party growers and will provide a further update in our half year results on 26 February 2020.

“Taking into account that the Adelaide Hills fire has potentially wiped out a third of wine production in this area, AVL has been very fortunate in only sustaining minimal direct damage.”

Kerry Treuel, Executive Officer of Adelaide Hills Wine Region told TheShout that the region is likely to be feeling the effects of this disaster for many years to come.

“Broadly we know that approximately 30 per cent of the region’s vineyards (1100 – 1200ha) were in the fire area but the damage to all of these is yet to determined.

“Unfortunately, some vineyards are completely gone but there are other areas where vines are still intact with no fire damage. We are working closely with The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), Vinehealth Australia and industry experts to understand the damage and salvage as much as possible.”

The devastation is also great for many apple, pear and cherry growers as well as dairy and beef farmers in the Adelaide Hills.