Australian bush fires + a couple of recent bottles

Bush fires continue in Australia. Here are three articles on the fires.

Victoria firesPhoto: The Drinks Business

‘While fire conditions worsen in Victorian wine regions, some of Australia’s grapegrowers and wine producers from Gippsland, in Victoria, are still in the early days of damage assessment from recent bushfires which struck the region.

As a region affected by recent fire activity, the main concern growers in the East Gippsland area have, is the damage to winegrapes from smoke taint.

Ken Eckersley, owner of Nicholson River Winery in East Gippsland, commented that, at present, the region is playing a waiting game to get a clearer picture of the impact caused by fires in the region.

“My understanding is that the most opportune time for smoke taint to damage winegrapes is during veraison, which is coming up fairly soon for us in the region,” he said.’

From winetitlesmedia – read the rest here

In addition to burnt vines and smoke taint there is also the effect on wine tourism, which is very important and well developed in Australia. The fires over the last few years look to be already putting some visitors off.

Article from Decanter:

1% Chris Mercer


‘A number of wineries and vineyard owners across parts of South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland were believed to have suffered serious damage from bushfires that may take years to recover from, Wine Australia said this week.

Adelaide Hills was believed to be one of the worst-hit wine areas.

Full damage assessments have not yet been possible, in some cases because it was still not safe for people to return to vineyards, and Wine Australia warned that a full picture would take time to assemble.

Its comments provided another example of how bushfires have affected communities.’

Read the rest here.



‘A call to aid is being answered for a winery in the Adelaide Hills following the devastation of the Cudlee Creek bushfire.

David Bowley of Vinterloper in a social media post to a community forum, Adelaide Hospitality Crew, has asked for volunteers to help rebuild the label’s vineyard.

Bowley’s call for help has gone answered by some community members, who are offering their help to the effort which Bowley mentioned is to commence on the 17th January and finish the following day.

“If you are keen and available to volunteer for one or both days we’d love the help as we try to recover from the Cudlee Creek bushfire,” Bowley said in his post.

Bowley says that Vinterloper will provide their volunteers with lunch for their generous services on both days.

So far, a number of the community have responded to help the winery recover.’

Read the rest here


A couple of recent bottles:



2013 Le Mont Sec, Vouvray, Domaine Huet

2013 is probably the least good vintage of the new millennium. A very cold spring meant that flowering was very late and picking even in the Pays Nantais didn’t start until late September. Not unusual in the 1960s and 1970s but nowadays very unusual.

The photo shows that although this 2013 Le Mont Sec is only seven years old it has taken on a considerable amount of colour. The same was true with the 2013 Muscadets tasted at Decanter a couple of years old. Muscadets from the vintages either side of the 13s had a much lighter colour. Incidentally 1990 Vouvray is much deeper in colour than 1989. The 2013 had an attractive citric and slightly honeyed nose and initially was quite austere, which I find attractive. After trying the wine I decanted it. With more air, time and becoming warmer the 2013 opened up and took on more weight and complexity. A good wine from a challenging vintage.



We had looked forward to savouring a 1996 Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec Domaine Huet on New Year’s Eve with our faisan à la Normande. Unfortunately it was horribly corked and had to be poured straight down the sink.




1979 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château de Beaucastel

This is one of the last few bottles of 1979 that we bought from Beaucastel back in the early 1980s when we used to stay in a campsite in a pine wood not far from Vaison-La-Romaine.  It remains a real treat to drink with lovely soft, spicy and herbal fruit, long with very good balance.

Jim + Mustache

   i     m ....



3 réflexions sur “Australian bush fires + a couple of recent bottles

  1. While in Cassis, several years ago, I heard from local producers that vines could act as a buffer zone against fires. It doesn’t seem that way in Australia, or is there more to it?


  2. Hervé. You are right I have heard the same thing both in Portugal and Italy. I guess that this time the fires have been so widespread and intense in particular localities that vines have been burnt. It probably depends also on how close the vineyards are to woods or bush land. It may also be that in places vines have indeed acted as a firebreak. probably many factors in play here. The problem of smoke taint has been around for a few years – also in California.


  3. Je ne comprends pas pourquoi après autant de temps les autorités australiennes n’ont pas commandé une flotte de Canadair, ça coûte moins cher que tout ce qui part en fumée. Marco


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