Up to 10 Murrumbateman vineyards destroyed by hail, in ‘disaster’ for Canberra wine | Canberra time

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Up to 10 Murrumbateman vineyards were damaged or wiped out by Monday’s severe thunderstorm, local winemaker Ken Helms said. A pioneer winemaker in the region and co-founder of Helm Wines said it was the worst damage he had seen in the Canberra District wine region in 50 years. “What we saw last night in 20 minutes should be the worst impact of any disaster we have seen in [the last] 50 years,” Helm said. “The number of vineyards that were completely stripped by the hail that we observed this morning, should be around 50-60%, if not more, of the total harvest. at Murrumbateman. “He said some smaller vineyards would have lost their entire harvest. Mr Helm said it was a triple whammy, with the wine-growing area suffering from the bushfires and smoke of 2020, which had a knock-on effect. training on the grapes of 2021. “And this year now, where some businesses, including ours, are facing either zero revenue for three years or very low revenue,” he said. there aren’t many companies that can actually keep going under those kinds of circumstances. So it’s a disaster.” The area suffered from a hailstorm in 2012, but Mr Helm said this latest storm was even more vicious. “When the hail passed, it ripped leaves and fruits of the vines,” he said. “It can also damage the canes on the vines, which is what we are pruning for next year’s harvest, 2023. “So we could also face an impact for the 2023 vintage and not just for 2022.” Four Winds winery CEO Sarah Collingwood said her crop was damaged by hail. “It came through pretty hard yesterday and basically defoliated the vines, so it stripped the vine of its leaves,” Ms Collingwood said. “The kids and I were standing at the house, watching their trampoline fly away. The hail was so heavy we couldn’t see the vines, even though they’re only about 10 meters from the house.” quite a bit of damage. She said the smell of smoke damaged her crop in 2020. “Potentially losing the crop twice in three years is really unusual,” she said. Ms. Collingwood was optimistic about the future of her business. that we lost the grapes because of the smell of smoke, it showed us that we could buy grapes from other regions, that people were really happy to try something different,” she said. declared. READ MORE: “Our customers really understood that we were making a vermentino and a mataro versus a riesling and a shiraz. We expect to do the same this year as well.” The winemaker said while it was disappointing to lose this latest harvest, 2023 was a “blank slate.” “The good thing about viticulture is that every year we are starting again,” she said. “Next year will be another year and we will have the opportunity to grow grapes again and make wine. So every year feels like we start with a bit of a clean slate, which is good. Both winemakers were positive about the future of winemaking in the region, as many vineyards were unaffected. Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this COVID-19 outbreak in the ACT is available to everyone free of charge. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you can, please subscribe here. If you are already subscribed, thank you for your support. You can also subscribe to our newsletters for regular updates. Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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