NEWS
24/12/2019 10:27 AM AEDT | Updated 24/12/2019 10:39 AM AEDT

South Australia Bushfires: Scale Of Destruction Revealed, Winemakers Say Vineyards ‘Completely Destroyed’

Wine industry representatives say a third of wine production has been wiped out with damage set to exceed $100 million.

Tilbrook Estate
Wine industry representatives say the fires have potentially wiped out a third of wine production.

Uncontrolled fires that ripped through South Australia this week have engulfed some of the region’s famous vineyards, forcing winemakers to take to social media to plead for donations.

David Bowley’s 72-acre property in the Adelaide Hills was among vineyards in the state’s prominent wine region “completely destroyed” by bushfires.

“The worst day in our history. I am completely broken,” Bowley, who owns Vinteloper wines, wrote on Instagram as he shared photos of his burnt property.

About six kilometres south of Vinteloper, James Edward Tilbrook of Tilbrook Estate is seeking help to rebuild his lost assets. 

“We have nothing left, except a few cases of museum stock at our home and literally 48 bottles of current vintage wine,” Tilbrook wrote on his Facebook page.

In a separate post that had images of incinerated bottled wines and melted bottles, he urged his friends and followers to help pay for rebuilding.

“First target is to get Vintage. Then the next target is to get the wine in bottle,” he wrote.

“That’s three to 12 months from Vintage. Once we have wine again we are back in business. It’s just getting to that point and that’s where we need your help.” 

Huffpost Australia
Burnt South Australia winery.

Vinteloper’s Bowley estimates his financial loss at A$1million although he is still assessing damage, as is Tilbrook.

Wine industry representatives say the fires have potentially wiped out a third of wine production, or 1,100 hectares, in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region.  The industry’s potential damage is estimated in excess of A$100 million, according to media reports.

Uncontrolled fires are still burning in Adelaide Hills. So far, about 87 homes and 500 other buildings have been destroyed in South Australia by the fire.

“There are still a lot of pockets of bush burning, there are a lot of trees that are hot and smouldering and it’s a very dangerous place to be,” South Australia’s Country Fire Service deputy chief officer Andrew Stark said.

“If we see very hot and windy conditions, unfortunately, we may see the fire break out.”

Temperatures in South Australia’s capital city of Adelaide are expected to soar to 41 degrees C on Saturday.

You can donate to Tilbrook Estate here

Reporting by Swati Pandey and Nur-Azna Sanusi.