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How to Help Bushfire Affected Wine Regions

It’s been a horror summer (and it’s not over) for Australia in general, and many of our beloved wine regions have been severely impacted by horrific bushfires. Close to home for Wine Academy, Christmas got off to a terrible start with a fire ripping through Cudlee Creek, in the Adelaide Hills region. Things didn’t improve, as fires then raged on Kangaroo Island for weeks. In other parts of Australia, it’s been a similar story.

So here are my thoughts on how you can best help your favourite region.

Firstly – buy direct. If you have a favourite winery that has been impacted by fires (and that doesn’t necessarily mean fire damage to any of their assets – the down tick in tourism dramatically affects everyone) buy wines directly from the winery. I know that might sound a bit strange from a retailer – but really, buy direct and the money goes directly to the winery. Don’t have a favourite winery, don’t want to buy a six pack? Then by all means – buy from retailers (like Wine Academy) because every bit does help. And all our Adelaide Hills wines can be found here.

Next – visit the region. This might be easier said than done – but for those who live in metro Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills is just a short drive up the freeway. By having lunch in a winery, and buy one (or more) bottles of wine, you’re helping ensure a region’s tourism remains sustainable. I was saddened to read that the magnificent Simon Tolley Lodge has had a run of post-fire cancellations. Simon Tolley makes great wines AND lost 80% of vines in the fires before Christmas so staying at the Lodge is a great way to support him while the business recovers from the loss of vines. But even if you can’t justify a few days away, at least head out for lunch and a winery visit. In SA, the #bookthemout campaign has recently launched to highlight just how much there is to do in both the Hills and Kangaroo Island.

Finally – donate. I’m not going to tell you where to donate BUT I do encourage you to make sure you understand where you money is going. For example, here in South Australia, the CFS Foundation supports volunteer firefighters who have suffered a loss (physical or financial) during service. Particularly if you live in an affected region, you may prefer to donate to your local brigade, which will allow them to buy otherwise unfunded equipment (defibrillators seem to be a big one). The state government administered State Emergency Relief Fund (and SA Bushfire Appeal) raises funds for people directly affected by the bushfires. And there are countless charities also raising money, not to mention gofundme (or similar) pages for individuals and businesses. I’ve not linked to any of these quite deliberately – all are equally worthy causes. Sadly, money is finite so make sure you understand the cause you’re supporting.