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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Kim Maxwell

Montagu and Robertson in South Africa have been declared National Disaster areas after flood damage that began on 23 March. Flooded sections of the interlinked Kogmans and Breede Rivers affected Montagu town and isolated farms near Robertson and Ashton. Van Loveren's cellar door broke and flooded the interior. Estimated damage of R9 million includes pumps, barrels of 2002 wine and 100,000 packaged cases. We've lost three months of stock, one-third destined for UK export,' said Philip Retief. We're re-labelling a lot of reds, but 2002 whites are gone. We've also lost one Colombard block.' Zandvliet viticulturist Dan de Wet said he lost topsoil and 4ha of Colombard, and damaged a Land Rover that was part-submerged between rocks for six hours. Paul Hoffman of Bloupunt Wines in Montagu estimates structural losses of R150,000 to the estate's 10ha farm. We had 300mm over 30 hours. Our cellar is fine, but not one fence is standing,' he said. We've lost all our main pipelines for vineyard irrigation, which were only installed six months ago. And all our topsoil is gone, which is irreplaceable. One labourer's cottage was under water, and we rescued a British tourist staying in our guest cottage. We tied his hire car to an apricot tree, as it was under water.'