Booze | December 23, 2019 10:19 am

Bushfires Are Ravaging the Australian Wine Industry

Up to one-third of the vineyards in the south have been lost

bushfire
A bushfire on the outskirts of the town of Bargo
David Gray/Getty Images

The wine industry in southern Australia has been decimated by recent bushfires, according to a new report by The Guardian.

According to the Adelaide Hills Region industry association, up to a third of the vineyards in the area have been completely wiped out, at a cost of up to $20 million (or 794,000 lost cases of wine).

“This is devastating,” as the area’s wine industry vice-chair Jared Stringer said. “This is going to have extraordinary effects on the Adelaide Hills region. Where this fire went through it is arguably one of the most agriculturally rich and productive in South Australia. The cost of this is going to be astronomical.” He did note that if farmers could rebuild their irrigation quickly, they’ll be able to restart the growing process quickly.

But David Bowley of Vinteloper notes that “to regrow a vineyard, it’s not just next year. This wipes out our crop for seven years, at least.” It’s a sentiment shared by several other vineyard owners in the area.

“In my 38 years in the wine industry, I have never seen or known a vineyard to be wiped out like this,” says Barristers Block owner Jan Siemelink-Allen.

While the loss of the wine industry is devastating, the overall human and economic impact to the country may get significantly worse. According to Time, there are now bushfires “raging” outside every major city in Australia (where it is currently summer and everywhere is dealing with record heat).

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