@Freddy (our Australia buyer) wanted to update you all on how these awful fires have affected our growers, but he’s currently whizzing around Austria visiting lots of amazing producers, so he’s kindly sent me an update to post on his behalf:
"For anyone who has been following the news lately, the bushfires in Australia will be no surprise, yet they are no doubt still a heartbreaking turn of events. They have raged continuously since around September of last year and have caused unprecedented levels of devastation. They burn in every single one of Australia’s states and are a stark reminder of the power that Mother Nature has over all of us.
These fires have caused tragic losses of wildlife across Australia and have destroyed the homes and belongings of so many people across the country.
Sadly, there have been stories of wineries which have faced significant losses of vineyards and facilities in these fires as they have swept through the country and whether they are suppliers, friends or colleagues of ours or not, we are still deeply saddened to learn of the tragic events that have unravelled.
I have reached out to our suppliers recently because more so than anything I have wanted to check that they are safe and well and I am relieved to say that I have heard back from all to say that nobody has been injured.
Our own-label suppliers, Bleasdale, say that they have lost some of their chardonnay and Pinot Gris, and Shaw + Smith have reported that the fires burnt up to the boundary of their Lenswood vineyard but no further, which is a real blessing, all things considered.
Thankfully, at the time of writing, all reports back from those wineries that we work closely with have been of lucky escapes and are crucially good news, despite all these tragic events.
What is particularly harrowing though, aside from the unanimous sense of worry and nervousness from our suppliers is how “close to home” these fires are for a lot of people, with one of our suppliers telling me that he knows two of the people whose lives have been taken by the horrendous blazes.
It almost feels distasteful to say it when human and animal lives are at risk but it looks as though this will be a very difficult wine vintage for Australia, with Brokenwood winery in Hunter for example saying that the likelihood of single vineyard wines is minimal this year. The effects of smoke taint across the key wine growing regions is yet to be seen.
I am pleased to report that the damage caused by these fires for our core suppliers is very minimal and that 99% of them have escaped entirely where their vineyards and wineries are concerned, but this type of event really brings to light how insignificant all of this is when human life and the life of so many of Australia’s beautiful animals and habitats are at threat. Although it is our livelihood and often our passion, wine is wine and there are many more important things at stake here. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families of those who have been killed by these fires and we will endeavour to keep our members informed should we hear of updates from our suppliers.”