It’s been just about three weeks since an ember from a bushfire entered the vineyard and caused a huge grass fire. This ember was from the out of control Tingha Plateau bushfire which burnt around 90% of our vines, leaving the vineyard scorched just hours before we were due to harvest our 2019 vintage.
At this point it is hard to tell how many vines will survive the scorching, but our first step forward was in the use of an industrial travelling irrigator from our neighbour to soak as many vines as possible in order to relieve some of the drought stress.
The Tingha fire burnt up more than 23,000 hectares of land, including six houses on the outskirts of town as two long walls of fire enveloped the north and south sides of town. Aerial water bombers were flown up from Victoria at one stage to try and combat the fire, thanks to the Rural Fire Service who came out to back burn on the property to try and stop the blaze.
We are lucky that no one was hurt, especially those of us trying to fight it with wet hessian bags and buckets of water. However, we think that the root of the problem may be that the State Forest between Guyra Rd and Topper’s Mountain Wines has not undergone back burning for a very long time, we suspect around 20 years. Prime Seven came to the Vineyard yesterday to talk to us and Primary Industries Minister, Niall Blair, as well as local MP, Adam Marshall, to see how the state government can learn from this fire.
You can keep up to date with our recovery process by checking back here or joining quarterly newsletter.
To all those who have helped and continue to share messages of support – thank you,
The Topper’s Mountain Team.