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Bottling community spirit to support fire-affected Hills wine producers

Wine

In a bid to raise $200,000 for grape growers devastated by the summer bushfires, some of the Adelaide Hills’ best winemakers have come together to produce the 2019 Hills Appeal Wine.

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Six months after bushfires tore through the Adelaide Hills, the Adelaide Hills Wine Fire Appeal 2019 Syrah Meunier has been released, with all proceeds being used to aid the recovery of the local industry.

More than 20 high-profile Hills wineries have contributed, producing 10,800 bottles of wine, available online for $150 for a half-dozen. Single bottles will be available for $28 from a pop-up store at the Adelaide Central Market.

Wineries participating in the limited-run label include Longview Vineyard, Bird in Hand, Bleasdale, Shaw + Smith, The Lane Vineyard, and Sidewood Estate.

The wine is a blend of Syrah and Pinot Meunier in a vibrant drink-now style, boasting the dark fruits and savoury flavours of Shiraz combined with Pinot Meunier’s silky, floral notes.

Since December 2019, when bushfires burnt through 25,000 hectares of the Hills, including 30 per cent of the region’s vineyards, the Adelaide Hills Wine Region Fire Appeal has raised more than half a million dollars, including $200,000 through its Gofundme page.

The Hills Appeal Wine is expected to raise a further $200,000.

Longview Vineyard CEO Peter Saturno says Hills winegrowers in southern areas were less affected by the fires, and quickly came together to formulate a plan to help their neighbours.

“To achieve a labelled product all blended up and out to market in six months is an amazing effort,” Saturno says.

“It’s an incredible list of producers that have chipped in and the 2019 vintage was an exceptional vintage from the Hills. I would suggest that it will be a very good drop and once word gets around it will fly off the shelf.”

More than 1000 hectares of Hills vineyards were impacted by the bushfires, with some 60 growers affected.

“It was clear that our beloved region needed help and we needed to do something about it,” says Saturno.

Initially, growers such as Longview donated grapes to affected producers so they could still bottle wine this year. However, as many growers do not have wine labels, the concept quickly evolved into a way to raise money to help vineyard recovery.

“We are pleased to see so much effort and action going into the region; it’s humbling,” says Saturno.

Adelaide Hills Wine Region executive officer Kerry Treuel says Hills producers showed no hesitation in getting involved.

“Not only have the producers themselves been so generous in their involvement, but multiple businesses were keen to help, too – everything from the design, through to bottling and labelling and the logistics have been donated,” she says.

“All funds raised will go directly to the fire-impacted growers and producers to aid their recovery in any way needed – from planting new vines to replacing equipment or re-installing damaged infrastructure like irrigation, posts and fencing.

“These funds will in no way cover the costs and loss of income that will be felt by the industry for years to come but it will certainly help keep the recovery process moving forward and boost the spirits of those in need.”

Not only will the Hills Appeal Wine help to rebuild the beleaguered region, it has also come to be a perfect encapsulation of the Adelaide Hills’ finest traits.

“A few of the local winemakers worked their magic on the blend – trying out different varieties and quantities, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” Treuel says.

“The end product is a real snapshot of the cool-climate Shiraz blends that are made so well up here.”

The full list of participating wineries are: Bird in Hand, Bleasdale, Chain of Ponds, Hahndorf Hill, Honey Moon Vineyard, Howard Vineyard, La Prova, Lodestone Wines, Lobethal Road, Longview Vineyard, Murdoch Hill, Nepenthe Wines, Petaluma, Schoenthal Estate, Second Coming Wines, Shaw + Smith, Shining Rock Vineyard, Sidewood Estate, The Lane Vineyard, Tynan Road Wines and Wicks Estate.

 

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