Wine producers urge Riverland visitation amid flooding

Ahley Ratcliff. Image Ricca Terra. Reporting by Harrison Davies

Despite a recent emergency declaration in the Riverland following predictions of two potential flood peaks in December, wine producers in the region are suggesting the greater threat could be a loss of tourism.

Ricca Terra winemaker Ashley Ratcliff said that most vineyards in the region were on higher ground and were above the potential flood level, meaning many would not have to worry about being inundated with water.

He said that despite flood warnings, it was crucial that tourists continue to support the region over the busy summer holiday period.

“There are areas that people need to keep away from without question, but the greatest damage to the region will also come from people avoiding the region and not buying produce in the region,” Ratcliff said.

“There is a combination up there. It’s a day trip from Adelaide and surrounding areas as well, and [the water] really is quite spectacular.

“There’s no question there will be some low lying vineyards that will be impacted, but for the most part the floods are miles away.”

Whilst vineyards look to be spared from the worst of the flooding in the Riverland, the SA government is preparing flood relief packages to residents and business owners affected by rising waters.

In an announcement earlier this week, SA Premier Peter Malinauskas said the recovery effort was gearing up and that a flood coordinator would soon be appointed.

“The entirety of the cabinet will be on the ground in the Riverland,” Malinauskas told reporters on Monday.

“I decided to make arrangements for that last week given the expanding scope of the event and of course the fact that multiple government agencies now have a degree of responsibility across a suite of areas regarding this emergency response, but also the impact on Riverland communities more broadly.

“In the context of normal major emergencies, this is a slow-moving event and we’ll have to respond to it as we receive more information.”

The next flow modelling update is expected on Thursday.


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