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Australia Awash With Viti Headaches

By Monday 24 October 2022No Comments

No, this photograph does not have a sepia filter.

Note the one green leaf in the bottom left-hand corner.

Tahbilk Wines posted it on Facebook yesterday: “We’re taking a look at the vines that were submerged entirely underwater to the point where you couldn’t see an end post in sight and we are starting to see a glimpse of green coming through the all-encompassing brown layer of silt.

“The silt is now drying on the vines, which is not good.

“So, believe it or not, we’re hoping for a light sprinkling of rain to wash it off… but not too much!”

Tahbilk’s cellar door is open again.

They’re waiting for the water to subside to check on those beautiful ancient vines.

Mitchelton went under; it’s still shut.

“Our art gallery is gone, we got barrels floating around on the roof and lots of indigenous artwork has been destroyed,” owner Gerry Ryan told The Herald Sun.

This vineyard at Mount Emu Creek Wines in Darlington was flattened by the floods.

“It would have been nearly half a metre over the top of the posts in the vineyard,” owner David Farnhill said.

More rain is coming.

Campbells in Rutherglen have used a helicopter to spray vines; they can’t get machinery on the ground.

It’s wet in the Hunter, too.

Liz Riley volunteered to coordinate helicopter spraying for 15 businesses.

“We have had five downy mildew events,” she says.

“We have had a lot of bogged machinery.

“If you can’t get on (the ground) you feel stymied; it’s mentally taxing.

“I would never have said helicopters would be in my toolkit, but they are now.

“One of my favourite words is ‘agility’ – you have to be open to different things and have a red-hot go.”

This is an awful time for many.

Liz and thirty other locals got together last week for a barbie and a beer.

“We thought it was important to have a bit of a vent and not feel quite so alone in the battle,” she says.

“Victoria is probably at that point at the moment.

“If you’re having a bad day, ring someone and have a chat. It’s a bit of a shared load thing.

“To be really honest, for the guys who are dealing with floods, their priority is managing their homes. Your crop moves down the pecking order when that happens.

“It’s like when we have bushfires, it’s about making sure your family is safe, then you deal with your business.

“But it’s pretty hard when things go pear-shaped this early in the season.”

It’s times like this when you reflect on how much more recognition our viticulturists deserve; how they should be on stage at fancy dinners more often sharing the limelight.

• This is a version of an article that was published in our Friday newsletter The Week That Was.

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