SYDNEY (Reuters) - Uncontrolled fires that ripped through Australia’s southern state this week have engulfed some of the region’s vineyards, forcing winemakers to take to social media to plead for donations.
David Bowley’s 72-acre (29 hectares) property in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills was among vineyards in the state’s prominent wine region “completely destroyed” by bush fires.
“The worst day in our history. I am completely broken,” Bowley, who owns Vinteloper wines, wrote on Instagram as he shared photos of his burnt property.
About 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) south of Vinteloper, James Edward Tilbrook of Tilbrook Estate is seeking help to rebuild his lost assets.
“We have nothing left, except a few cases of museum stock at our home and literally 48 bottles of current vintage wine,” Tilbrook wrote on his Facebook page.
In a separate post that had images of incinerated bottled wines and melted bottles, he urged his friends and followers to help pay for rebuilding.
“First target is to get Vintage. Then the next target is to get the wine in bottle,” he wrote.
“That’s 3 to 12 months from Vintage. Once we have wine again we are back in business. It’s just getting to that point and that’s where we need your help.”
Vinteloper’s Bowley estimates his financial loss at A$1 million ($692,200) although he is still assessing damage, as is Tilbrook.
Wine industry representatives say the fires have potentially wiped out a third of wine production, or 1,100 hectares (2,718 acres), in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region. The industry’s potential damage is estimated in excess of A$100 million, according to media reports.
Uncontrolled fires are still burning in Adelaide Hills. So far, about 87 homes and 500 other buildings have been destroyed in South Australia by the fire.
“There are still a lot of pockets of bush burning, there are a lot of trees that are hot and smouldering and it’s a very dangerous place to be,” South Australia’s Country Fire Service deputy chief officer Andrew Stark said.
“If we see very hot and windy conditions, unfortunately, we may see the fire break out.”
Temperatures in South Australia’s capital city of Adelaide are expected to soar to 41 degrees C (105.8°F)on Saturday.
“I am going to rebuild. I’m not giving up. That’s not how we roll,” Vinteloper’s Bowley told the Guardian.
Reporting by Swati Pandey and Nur-Azna Sanusi; Editing by Dan Grebler