Talking Wine – April 2020

It is so sad to hear about the devastating fires that swept through the wine growing regions of Australia and particularly the Adelaide Hills where over a third of the vines have been completely destroyed. On top of this there has been a huge amount of radiant heat damage to one of Australia’s richest and most productive wine regions. Some vines will recover if the wine growers can rebuild their irrigation system but in many cases the vines will have to be replanted. Along with this over 100 homes and many wine sheds and outbuildings have been destroyed. Some well known names like Bird in Hand, Petaluma and Henschke have been badly damaged and Tilbrook Estate have lost their home, winery, stock and outbuildings.

Many have described it as “the worst time in their history”. Winemakers are simply heartbroken that a lifetime’s work has been wiped out.

When it is all over I am sure the whole community will get together and rebuild itself . Already fund raising has reached high levels and government compensation will, I am sure, help everyone get back on their feet but in the meantime I am sure all wine lovers will join me in offering our utmost sympathy.

Times are tough in the UK too but for different reasons. The Brexit delays have already caused untold damage to small businesses and only very recently two local wine merchants ceased trading or have gone into liquidation. If we don’t get a satisfactory deal with Europe the paperwork and additional costs are going to drive other company’s the same way. We read only last week in the wine press that VAT will have to be paid at the point of entry and this will mean huge extra funding which many will not be able to find. It is suddenly beginning to dawn on us all that we do not really want to walk away from Europe without a deal.

Add the C virus to all this and I really fear for the economy – we are already noticing that pubs and restaurants orders are well down as everyone panics unnecessarily. Let’s just hope they drink at home instead !