As we all bunker down to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it’s a timely reminder on just how challenging the start to 2020 has already been for many.
First, the devastating bushfires, grapes ruined by smoke taint, a lower harvest yield than expected and this coming after ongoing drought and water issues along with hail and frost events in 2019. Now we have the unpredictable and everchanging impacts COVID-19 is having on our daily lives and that of our wine industry friends – it’s tough out there.
I’m not going to dwell on COVID-19, however, if you’re after more analysis and how we’re responding as an industry, Australian Grape and Wine (AGW) has a dedicated webpage which is updated frequently with the latest news and resources for growers and winemakers. You can visit the page here: https://www.agw.org.au/media-and-events-centre/coronavirus-covid-19/
I’m hopeful we can all take a positive approach to the challenges facing us right now. We can't fix the damaged vines or run away from the economic loss from COVID-19 but we can try and rally around each other, continue to help through supporting our SA wineries and regions, buy wine direct, order the takeaway meal, support your local butchers and greengrocers where you can. Look out for people in your community that might be doing it a little tougher than others, set up skype, zoom or Facetime to communicate with friends and family.
No doubt we’re all in for a challenging year, lower yields are expected but there are some positives. We’ll again see fantastic quality, further strengthening the brand reputation of South Australian wine and we’re hearing that domestic wine sales through bottle shops and online are increasing as people are staying home. I’m hopeful this will at least help a little.
In other news, we’re embarking on a mapping and assessment project to help those growers affected by the bushfires, we’re continuing with collating repurposed vineyard posts to help rebuild damaged fences and we’re looking at better ways to keep in contact and share information.
We’ve recently cancelled our upcoming EcoVineyards workshops however the 24 project sites and EcoGrowers continue to plant native plants and grasses as they build biodiversity and resilience in their vineyards. We look forward to sharing more information and updates of their projects in due course.
As part of information sharing, we’re dipping our toe into ‘Facebook live’ for short updates and as a new way to keep in touch. I’m sure there will be some less than perfect attempts at this new medium but that’s part of the learning curve so I’m happy to look a bit silly for the greater good.
Finally, Halliday has put together a great resource on how we can all help the wine sector through this unpredictable time. One of our favourite ideas is to buy a new variety that you’ve not had before – I personally recommend Fiano.
Why not jump on the Wine Companion website and have some fun researching and picking a few new and interesting wines to taste – it’s a win/win for everyone.
Stay safe everyone!