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Thursday 13 April 2023

Smoke a major threat to wine vintage in Tasmania

The 2023 vintage is well under way in Tasmania - but this is an anxious time for grape growers and winemakers.

Not only is there the risk of early season frosts, but this is also the season when the forestry industry - which gets millions of dollars of state government support can threaten another of Tasmania's primary industries. Farm burn offs also pose a threat.

Wine Tasmania has issued an urgent reminder of the potential devastating impact smoke can have on vineyards.

Vineyards are particularly susceptible to smoke exposure, which can cause irreparable damage and destroy the livelihood of the island’s wine producers.

Wine Tasmania CEO Sheralee Davies said that wine grape growers have worked tirelessly over the past year to manage their vineyards up to harvest time. Consequently, the remaining harvest period through to approximately the end of May is crucial.

“It has been another challenging and varied season, including some cooler and wetter weather which has contributed to a delayed harvest," Davies said.

"Pleasingly, early reports of wine quality are very positive, with overall wine volumes likely to be slightly below the long-term average.

“One of the greatest concerns for wine producers at this time of the year is the potential impact of smoke from nearby fires. We encourage anyone planning to light a fire on their property in the weeks ahead to consult with nearby vineyards before igniting their burn to ensure they don't inadvertently cause major damage.

“Smoke can travel some distance from a fire and still cause damage to vineyards, and a short postponement of a fire may be all that is needed to prevent irreparable damage to this year's vintage.”

Wine Tasmania is encouraging land holders to get in touch directly with nearby vineyards to discuss proposed timing of burn offs, the vineyard’s progress on harvesting and potential risks.

They can also contact Wine Tasmania on (03) 6223 3770 for further information and details of nearby vineyards.


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