A smoke haze hanging over the Barossa this morning – including in some of the most prized vineyards that have not yet been picked – has alarmed local winemakers.
ABC Adelaide has been inundated with callers from the Barossa complaining about the smoke and asking about its origins.
There are no bushfires in South Australia and no prescribed burn-offs in the local area.
The South Australian Country Fire Service released this statement, “CFS is aware there is a smoke haze around the Barossa Valley region including Clare, Tanunda and surrounding areas.
“This smoke is being caused by a number of prescribed burns taking place in Victoria overnight and this morning.
“As always, if you’re affected by smoke keep your doors and windows closed.”
Adding insult to injury, ripening conditions across South Australia have been ideal with cool mornings, mild temperatures and sunny days.
“If this happened in some of the prized wine regions in America and Europe there would be a class action,” one wine producer told WBM.
“After all that the Australian wine industry has been through – bushfires, smoke taint, Covid and China to name a few – we now have to put up with the possible damaging effects of interstate prescribed burns that should not be happening at this time of the year.”
WBM also understands that a prescribed burn-off is planned for Kangaroo Island.
Winegrowers on the island are also worried about this because being a cool season the harvest has not yet commenced.
The Barossa Grape & Wine Association issued this statement to members: “The incidence of smoke lingering over Barossa today is the result of a large prescribed burn taking place in Victoria by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
“BGWA has raised our concerns regarding this to the highest levels in the South Australian wine industry, so an interstate solution can be expedited to minimise the impact on our region.
“BGWA and Vinehealth Australia are also in frequent contact with the South Australian Department for Environment and Water to update them on the progress of vintage.
“This will ensure Barossa’s harvest can continue without any concerns about the potential effects of prescribed burns.”
There is no suggestion this year’s harvest in the Barossa will be affected by the smoke.
But it does highlight the need for a national coordinated approach to prescribed burn-offs.
Smoke from Victorian bushfires has often settled over South Australia in recent years.
A lot of winegrapes in the Adelaide Hills were ruined last year by smoke taint caused by the Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Island fires.
• Stock photo by Hamish Weir on Unsplash.