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Wine Australia reveals AUD $500m raised in charitable donations

Published:  22 January, 2020

Wine Australia has revealed that more than AUD $500m has been raised so far in charitable donations from across the globe in relation to the devastating bushfires.

“The outpour and generosity from people in Australia and across the globe has been outstanding and we really want to thank everyone, especially the UK, for their generosity,” said Stuart Barclay, Wine Australia’s general manager marketing, at yesterday’s Australia Trade Tasting in London.

Barclay also took the opportunity to reinforce the message that “Australia is very much open for business”, and reiterated last week’s announcement that while the “toll on individuals cannot be underestimated and should not be downplayed”, so far a maximum of around 1,500ha of vineyards fall within the regions affected by the current bushfires to date.

“Overall today, the wine sector has been very fortunate in that the losses have been limited to some vineyards. The impact for those individuals are incredible severe and the focus for Wine Australia in coming weeks is to help those individuals get the information they need to rehabilitate their vineyards and rebuild their businesses,” he said.

On the back of “a lot of speculation”, Barclay confirmed it was still “really early days” in terms of establishing the overall impact of the fires. In terms of what’s happened in the vineyard and to the ecosystems”.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to evaluate and understand the impact, but Australia is well resourced in terms of having 17 years worth of research that we have invested in, in order to be able manage and mitigate smoke effects,” he said.

In terms of stock, he said that while 2020 may be a smaller vintage for certain producers, with the majority of Australia’s wine country unaffected by the fires and smoke, there would not be a shortage.

In addition, Barclay said Wine Australia wanted to make sure that the wines it produces from 2020 “enhance our reputation as a fine wine producer”.

“Yes the fires have been shocking and have devastated lives but fortunately only a small percentage of vineyards burned and Australia’s reputation of quality is not at risk. We are not going to produce bad wine so if there is any risk of smoke taint in a wine it is not going to be produced.

“We don’t want to produce wine that negatively affects our reputation.”

Information on support, donations and fundraising activities around the world can be found here.