The strength we need...
When I heard the theme for this edition was community, I instantly knew I wanted to write about the recent tragic bushfires that affected so many Australians. Specifically, I wanted to share some of the stories I’ve heard from family, friends and wineries that have helped remind me that even in the face of sheer hell, a strong community can pull through almost anything.
Chatting to a number of long-standing customers (whom I now call friends) that live in the Adelaide Hills, the overwhelming message was not about what they had or might’ve lost but about the community coming together and the spirit of the region. I have a cousin who lives in Gumeracha - an eight- minute drive from Cudlee Creek, the scene of the fire - who upon receiving the news to evacuate, moved her pets to safety and then without a thought went back to lend a hand to neighbours and friends, one of many to do so.
Of course, close to my heart were the winemakers and growers of the region who have lost so much and yet still the message rang through their stories…
I’m a grower, producer and Army Reservist. I was with the first wave of relief on Kangaroo IslandI, this scene reminded me of what’s already happened on the mainland. Help out if you can. Growers drive this industry.'
Phil Manser - winedirect.com.au Staff, Adelaide Hills Grower, Army Reservist
This event is not about one individual, it is about a region and a world-class product. It is about survival and determination and endurance and belief in the future. Vineyards do recover but it will be a long road for many. The financial impact on the region, in general, is serious and devastating for fire-affected growers. The Adelaide Hills Wine Region community has come together as one with support from consumers evident on many levels. Gratitude for friends, family and help from the community is palpable.'
Tim Knappstein - Winemaker, Riposte Wines
'It's been a hard few weeks in the Adelaide Hills, and we have been in shock. Our beautiful region, like much of Australia, has been devastated by fire. We have lost around 30% of our Lobethal Vineyard (Schoenthal) due to the fires and the damage that they caused. This would usually make up to 100-150 tonnes of wine grapes (7000 dozen). Our Schoenthal vineyard is one of the most premium vineyards in the Adelaide Hills. Fires raged on all sides of our property and our friends fought for several saves with continued spot fires in the days following. As our community comes together to heal we are hearing amazing stories of bravery and sacrifice on what will be remembered as one of the worst days in many of our lives. It's a great opportunity for us to rebuild and bounce back better and stronger than ever. We were lucky to have no damage to the Howard Vineyard Cellar Door site, meaning our beautiful Cellar Door, function space, restaurant and gardens are still able to trade and be enjoyed by our loyal customers. We are looking forward to a strong vintage with fruit that remains on our Schoenthal vineyard and our Howard vineyard and producing some cracking wines. Thank you for your ongoing support.'
Tom Northcott - Winemaker, Howard Vineyard
It's always humbling in these times, when we could so easily be forgiven for giving up or losing hope, that we have the extraordinary support and determination of communities like these all over Australia to remind us exactly what’s Important in life.