Australian fires: fast facts

Australian fires: fast facts  

In Australia, the start to 2020 has been a difficult one and our thoughts are with those who have lost friends, loved ones, vineyards, wineries, pets and livestock. 

How much of Australia’s viticultural area has been affected?
Less than one per cent of Australia’s 146,000 hectares of vineyards are in areas affected by fires. Fortunately, not all vineyards in these areas are fire damaged.   

What is the level of damage in the vineyards?
We are still working to understand the extent of the damage as assessing the physical damage is complex. In some properties, some blocks are affected while others are untouched. It can take at least two months for the full impact of fire damage to become apparent.

What impact will the smoke have on wine?
In most affected areas it is still too early in the season to tell, but we have the systems in place to manage smoke effects. The sector is holding workshops to let growers and winemakers know what the best practice is – which is to test their fruit a few weeks before harvest to measure for the compounds that impact flavour. For more information about how smoke affects grapes and the latest research, read our article here.

What impact are the fires likely to have on Australia’s wine production?
It is too early in the season to predict Australia’s winegrape crush but we anticipate that annual season-on-season variation is likely to be greater than the specific impact of bushfires.

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