In light of the on-going wildfires in Australia, which have so far burnt an area larger than Portugal, we’ve rounded up some of the ways that you can support the wine industry and affected areas.
Australia is currently grappling with a wildfire crisis of epic proportions. While the country has a so-called fire season each year, the 2019-20 fires are thought to be some of the worst the country has experienced.
According to the latest figures, since September 2019, at least 27 people have died in the fires, which have destroyed more than 10.3 million hectares across the country.
Firefighters from the US, Canada and New Zealand have been drafted in to help fight the blazes.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed that 2019 was both Australia’s hottest and driest year on record.
Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark has said it will take several weeks to assess the impact of the bushfires on the wine industry.
However, when reviewing the fire maps, Wine Australia stated that a maximum of 1,500 hectares of vineyards, around 1% of Australia’s total vineyard area, are within the regions affected by the blazes.
The majority of the vines that have been affected are in Adelaide Hills in South Australia, which is reported to have lost a third of its vines, the equivalent of 1,100ha.
Damage has also been reported in New South Wales, specifically in the Tumbarumba region.
Meanwhile, an evacuation order for Australian ‘Prosecco’ hotspot the King Valley in Victoria is now in place.
In order to support the industry, especially those producers who have lost their entire operation, we’ve put together a list of fundraising initiatives, events and other ways in which you can help. Please comment below with any further schemes that have not been mentioned.
Main fundraising efforts
- Australian Red Cross – https://www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/disaster-relief-and-recovery-donate
- Adelaide Hills Wine Region Fire Appeal – https://www.adelaidehillswine.com.au/fireappeal
- Wires Wildlife Emergency Appeal – https://www.wires.org.au/donate/emergency-fund
- Salvation Army Disaster Appeal – https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/donate/make-a-donation/donate-online/?appeal=disasterappeal
- Community-based bushfire disaster appeal on the Community Enterprise Foundation site – https://www.communityenterprisefoundation.com.au/make-a-donation/
- Gus Gluck, co-founder Quality Wines in London, has launched an Australian wine auction to raise money wildfire victims. Find out more here. https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/raisingmoneytosupportvictimsofthegreataustralianfires2019#none
- Graft Wine is holding a fund-raising dinner for the Adelaide Hills Wine Region Fire Appeal at Portland in London later this month. The dinner – with a special menu created by Portland – will be paired with rare older vintages of Vinteloper, an Adelaide Hills producer Graft represents in the UK, which experienced considerable damage in the Adelaide Hills fires. Anyone wishing to attend should email Graft at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wander restaurant in Stoke Newington is offering a special wine flight, featuring Dal Zotto Prosecco and Vinteloper, and is holding dinners over the Australia Day weekend (24-26 January), making donations from glasses and bottles sold.
- Ham restaurant in Hampstead is donating £1 from sales of Anzac biscuits and will be pouring Vinteloper this month.
- The Laughing Heart on the Hackney Road is also pouring Vinteloper and donating £1 from every glass and £5 from every bottle of Australian wine sold, plus all proceeds from sausage roll sales and £1 from every bill.
- The Milk Beach Café in Queen’s Park is donating 30p from every flat white sold this month, plus additional fundraising events.
- Pidgin in Hackney has organised a dinner on 27 January to raise funds for the Red Cross.
- Winerama, part of London Union’s Dinerama in Shoreditch, is pouring a flight of Vinteloper wines running through to Saturday to raise further funds.
- Elliot’s in Borough Market is asking customers for a voluntary donation of £1 on each bill. This will be matched and donated to each state’s rural fire service and Wires Wildlife Rescue.
- The Daisy Green Collection, a group of Australian inspired restaurants in London, is offering a number of ways to support the wildfires. For every glass or bottle of Aussie wine ordered, they’ll donate £1/glass and £5/bottle to fundraising efforts.
- Granger & Co, which has a number of all-day dining sites across London, is donating £1 to relief efforts from every serve of hotcakes (its most popular dish) across all our sites.
- Jason Atherton has collaborated with Australian non-alcoholic spirit brand Lyre’s Spirit Co. to create a selection of mocktails over January. £1 from each will be donated to the Wires Wildlife Emergency Appeal. Mocktails will be available in Pollen Street Social, 5 Social, Social Eating House, Hai Cenato and Pavlova’s Bar and Café.
- Luvians bottleshop in St Andrews, Scotland is hosting a “Buzzfeed style ‘Snack Wars’ event”, combining both Burns Night and Australia Day in one. Manager Archie McDiarmid said he’s planning to serve gin, whisky and Scottish beers alongside Australian and Scottish snacks, including Arnott’s Shapes, Timtams, haggis bonbons and shortbread. 100% of the ticket sales will be donated to the Adelaide Hills Wine Region Bushfire Fund as well as any money generated from orders on the evening, over the cost price of the bottles. Wines from Vinteloper and Henschke, two producers affected in the recent fires, will be on pour. Please call +44 (0) 1334 477 752 and ask for Archie.
- Chesters Wine Merchants in Abergavenny is hosting a Vinteloper fundraising dinner on 25 January. Please call 01873 856565 and ask for Lloyd.
- Gordon Ramsay is taking bids for two private lunches he will host in Melbourne to raise money for the Australian Red Cross. The chef is hoping to raise AU$100,000.
Visit wineries and buy Australian wine
Australian Grape & Wine chief executive Tony Battaglene stressed that while many areas in Australia were burning, the majority of the country’s wineries are still open and accepting visitors.
He said: “Our message is that Australia is hurting from the fires, but we are open for business. We need donations to the relief funds, support for our emergency services, and consumers to buy our wine and visit our regions. It is important to note that the fire season is not over and our temporary relief may not last.”
Angus Barnes, executive officer of the New South Wales Wine Industry Association, echoed Battaglene’s sentiments.
“Wineries are open and ready to serve you,” he said. “We are very concerned about the negative impact on tourism [in New South Wales] and we have seen a reduction in visitation over this important holiday period.”