The Adelaide Hills wine area will auction off more than 350 bottles of wine to help vineyards and growers damaged by the Cudlee Creek bushfires in 2019. Bushfires may have faded from memory as other natural disasters strike the country, but the strain and pain caused by the 2019 flames are still being felt by many Adelaide Hills vineyards. Wineries from all around South Australia graciously provided 357 bottles of wine, including those from the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Western Australia, and even a Rhone Hermitage from France. A total of 35 wineries answered, ranging from well-known brands like Vasse Felix, Yalumba, and Rockford to smaller Adelaide Hills producers like K1 and K2.
The original plan to sell the wines at a charity banquet in 2020/21 was thwarted by the epidemic, therefore an online auction was devised. Mark Kozned of Nova Vita expressed his gratitude to everyone who contributed money or wine to the auction and supported the industry in any manner. “Please consider bidding on wines at the auction as a contribution rather than a purchase, and be generous,” he said. In the fires, Darren Golding of Golding Wines lost 90% of his vineyard. “In a single day, the fire destroyed 30 years of work. We had to start over, which was not easy. It’s not just about the physical toil, but also about the enormous emotional toll of beginning again.
“We’re approximately halfway done replanting our vines, maybe around 50%.” Returning to full production will take another five years.” With no grapes left after the fires, Dave Bowley feared the end for his firm, Vinterloper. “We had to buy grapes for the 2020 vintage and continue to buy grapes for many more seasons.” We were able to replace trellis and infrastructure, as well as keep the business functioning, thanks to funding from the Fire Appeal.” Despite the difficulties of recent years, Adelaide Hills wine producers have remained resilient and have continued to rehabilitate their vines with the help of the Fire Appeal.
The Fire Appeal was formed by the Adelaide Hills Wine Region, which represents winemakers and grape growers in the Adelaide Hills, to help local growers and producers and fund recovery operations. Wickmans Fine Wine Auctions will host the fundraising auction from April 18 to 25.