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Bushfire Response - 8 January 2020

* NEW SOUTH WALES UPDATE *

Bushfires are affecting or will affect many wine regions around Australia this year. Vineyard owners whose vineyards have been directly impacted by fires, are encouraged to familiarise themselves with various support services available. 

As of today, this is the current situation in NSW: 

  • The fires on the east coast of Australia in NSW are primarily affecting forests and national parks, rather than wine regions. 
  • The affected area north of Bateman’s Bay is in the Shoalhaven Coast wine region, which has a total of 41 hectares of vines, mostly in the northern half of the region. It is not known how many of these are affected. 
  • The fires west of the Kosciusko National Park are within the Tumbarumba wine region, which has a total of 176 hectares of vineyards. It is not known exactly the extent or location of fire damage within this area. However, the  majority of vineyards are a long way north of Corryong, where the fire damage appears to be most significant. 
  • The fires west of Newcastle are partly located in the Hunter wine region, but are further south than the majority of vineyards in the region, which are concentrated around the Cessnock/Pokolbin/Rothbury area.

  

The New South Wales Wine Industry Association (NSWWIA) is working closely with the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Regional Wine Associations across NSW to constantly monitor and assess the situation.  As tourism may be a potential problem in the next weeks and months, NSWWIA is working with Destination NSW to promote the regions as soon as the immediate danger has abated.

 

NSWWIA is also coordinating Fire & Smoke Workshops with The AWRI.  The next round of workshops are likely to be held in Griffith and Tumbarumba in the week commencing 13/1/20.  For further information and registration, please contact Angus Barnes directly at info@nswwine.com.au.

 

NSWWIA has kindly provided the following key messages for the sector: 

  • Our concerns during periods of fire are clearly with our people and their ongoing safety. 
  • NSW is also in drought which is a concern for our industry, but we are a resilient bunch. We have great seasons, good seasons and sometimes difficult seasons, we know how to handle these conditions and make the most out of them. 
  • There are some early concerns with regions progressing towards vintage or harvest, and the industry at large has been taking a proactive stance and working with the relevant research bodies to collect data and samples. 
  • Too early to speculate at this stage on any potential effects on the seasons grapes and wines. 
  • If people want to help, please buy a bottle of NSW wine and come and visit us, we are open for business. 
  • We have a number of vineyards in Tumbarumba that have been directly impacted by fire and we are working with them on possible assistance.
     

Australian Grape & Wine encourages all fire affected people and businesses to ensure you have a bushfire plan, and are ready to enact it.  For bushfire updates and information, the NSW RFS Bushfire Information line is 1800 679 737. For further information on warnings and how to stay safe, please visit the NSW Rural Fire Services website.  We also encourage you to download the Fires Near Me app on your smart phone and/or device.
 

Yesterday the AWRI ran a webinar outlining the immediate response to be taken to maximise vine recovery post a fire event. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.  For any additional queries regarding this topic please contact the AWRI Helpdesk team, by email: helpdesk@awri.com.au or telephone: 08 8313 6600 during business hours.

Australian Red Cross are also coordinating Outreach services to those in bushfire affected areas.  Further information on how to seek help, or to donate to assist their work can be found here.  Their Register-Find-Unite service is also available here.
 

Australian Grape & Wine is in close contact with the Minister for Agriculture, the Minister for Trade and the Prime Minister’s Office. We are currently working with the Federal Government on developing short term relief, and medium and long term recovery options.

We are pleased to advise that we are getting a very good hearing, particularly with the Agriculture Minister, Trade Minister and the Prime Minister’s office.  This includes long-term investment in R&D for vineyard management and in-winery remediation options to mitigate smoke taint, increased funding for regional tourism and financial support for growers.