Wineries could get smoked out of business

Wineries could get smoked out of business

03 March 2011

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Australia — Wine grape growers in Victoria’s high country say an increase in fuel reduction burns could destroy their industry.

The Royal Commission into the February 2009 bushfires recommended a large increase in fuel reduction burns.

The burns program has already started and growers are worried excess smoke will taint their grapes.

Bob McNamara, chairman of the Alpine Valley Vignerons, says with plans for burns every year, grape production could become unviable.

“It’s probably our number one issue, because reduction burns happen towards the end of the season,” he said.

“The growers, all of their expenses are paid for, you’re getting to a stage where you might only be two to three weeks away from harvest and then you get a smoke event.”

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