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The Victorian wine industry speaks on the impact of fire

The consequences of the fires of Saturday February 7, 2009 have resonated across Victoria, and the wine industry has not escaped its share of the fury of a firestorm that has devastated the State and the nation.

“Our first priority is a concern for the human element in the equation,” said Victorian Wine Industry Association chief executive, Joanne Butterworth-Gray. “The human resources that support our agriculturally-based industry are the most valuable, and we need to ensure that there has been no loss of life as a result of the devastation wreaked by the fires.”

“At times like this, communication is extremely difficult with roads still closed and all human lives still not accounted for,” Joanne said. "The VWIA understands that there have been some assets lost, however, the full impact will not be known for some days.”

On a brighter note, Joanne was relieved to observe that “the smoke from the fires did not hang about for very long – we were lucky that a southerly wind meant that smoke moved fairly quickly from the Yarra Valley – the region most affected by fire. The situation is quite different from that of 2007, when lack of prevailing wind resulted in smoke sitting for days on end in regions across the State.”

“Victoria is also fortunate that the proportion of the State’s wine production that suffered direct impact from the weekend’s fires is small. A full assessment of loss will be undertaken over the next few weeks."

What impact has the Victorian bushfire had on you and your vineyard or winery? Tell us your story, email and

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