Adelaide Hills grapegrowers endured an anxious time on Wednesday afternoon when a hailstorm ripped through the region.
There are reports of some damage to grapevines, but it doesn’t appear to be too serious or widespread.
The hail was accompanied by torrential rain – Crafers West recorded 75mm today – and some of the hail stones were 10mm in diameter.
The storm centred on Mount Lofty, Crafers, Summertown, Balhannah, Hahndorf, Verdun and Oakbank.
Most vines in the Adelaide Hills currently have new shoots and are vulnerable to weather events like this.
“It was very localised and the hail intensity varied a lot,” Hills viticulturist Simon Tolley says.
“I believe it was more intense in and around Crafers, Summertown and Mt Lofty.
“We will need to assess the impact over the next couple of weeks… as it takes a bit of time for the damage to reveal itself.
“Fingers, legs and toes are crossed.”
Marc Dobson of Hahndorf Hill says, “Never in our 19 years of living in the Hills have we ever experienced such a downpour.
“Fortunately, the hail that fell in Hahndorf was only small, so we think no serious damage was done, but our hearts were in our mouths as the hail fell because the young shoots of course are vulnerable.”
Michael Downer of Murdoch Hill says, “I was in Lenswood when the dark clouds and thunder rolled in and was hearing about white roads at Crafers on the radio.
“Seemed to be just some heavy rain at Lenswood. Then we headed back to Oakbank to find flooding everywhere on the roadsides.
“Our property seemed to be spared the hail.”
Tom Jefferies from DJs Growers in the Adelaide Hills posted on Instagram, “In the northern Hills area, we have found some light levels of leaf tearing with no significant damage to inflorescence.
“Studies have shown that mild hail damage can disrupt growth processes for the following 10-14 days.
“In some cases, this can result in increased lateral shoot development.
“For this reason, apart from reduced yield, hail can result in a crop of lower quality.
“It is important to stimulate growth of canopy and nutrient uptake after hail damage.
“Biostimulants such as seaweed and humic acid based products, along with micronutrient and amino acids help grapevines in stressful situations.”
There were also reports of hail falling in the Barossa including Gawler.
Photograph: Oakbank Hotel Facebook page.