With the holiday season almost upon us, this Blog was simply going to send festive greetings and thanks to all my readers. But the worsening news about the catastrophic wildfires in Australia changed my mind. I was already thinking that, for many in the wine industry and beyond, 2019 has not been a good year. Last month, I blogged about fires hitting the Sonoma wine region in California and now our TV screens are full of the apparently even worse situation in Australia which has, tragically, claimed a number of lives including those of brave fire fighters. The picture above shows some of the work by the New South Wales Fire Service.
Two areas in particular have been mentioned in connection with the Australian fires – one north of Sydney, the other east of Adelaide; both are key winemaking regions. The Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, is one of Australia’s oldest vineyard areas, first planted in the 1830s and now the source of unique Semillons and robust Shiraz. The Adelaide Hills are more recent – ironically the result of winemakers looking for cooler, upland areas where they can create delicate Chardonnays. The extent of damage in both areas won’t be clear for some time but early reports speak of widespread damage to vineyards, winery equipment and stocks built up over many years.
(Picture from Golding Wines)
All who have enjoyed wines from these regions will surely join me in expressing our deepest sympathy to the families and employees who have lost so much.
In sending seasons greetings, I also hope that 2020 will bring better news to all.