Unless you have been ignoring the news lately, you probably have at least a basic knowledge that the land down under is on fire. Not just any fires, but intense and long lasting wild fires. These fires reportedly have been devastating on many levels: acreage burned (12 million + acres, which is about the size of the state of Maryland), speed the fires are spreading, irreparable damage to human homes and wildlife habitats, possibly the destruction of trillions of insect, millions of animals, and of course as many as a third or more of the wild Koala. We have not heard much about the impact to vineyards as many of these fire areas are not in major wine regions, but the weather conditions that have caused these conditions are certainly impacting wine regions - mainly the high heat and dry conditions that provide fuel. At this point these fores have been burning for months.
Not only have I seen the daily reports on the news, but now the impact of these fires has even managed to find its way into television commercials for charity agencies - if you watched some football today, you will have seen a number of relief requests (see link below).
This week, though, I was reminded of these fires for a different reason: I came across a posting on IDTT for a wine education site called Australian Wine Discovered Education Program on the Wine Australia website. The program is a "comprehensive" and free educational program provided by the Australian government. There are a ton of topics to work through, including info on grape varieties, regions, and other resource topics. There are also tasting sheets if you want to organize your own tasting sessions. All good stuff to enhance your understanding of Aussie wines.
While it is cold here in the northeast in mid-January, remember it is mid-summer in Australia, and they are getting ready to pick the 2020 harvest, soon. I remember the time when Australian wines were all the rage and everyone was drinking wines with "critter" labels. While the fortunes of the Aussie wines in the US market have changed significantly over the past 10-15 years, the Australian wine producers have continued making tremendous wines. The difference is that today you can find more outstanding wines at a good variety of price points. For regions unaffected by the fires, the hope of course is to have a good vintage and continue to make exceptional wines. Unfortunately with the effects of climate change taking a bigger and bigger hold on wine regions, we may get to a point where some of our favorite wines will no longer be viable from a production point in certain areas.
So whether you are a fan of very good inexpensive wines from Australia or maybe are a little more selective in your grape or regional choices, this is the time to support Australian winemakers, be it because of the fires or simply because they are under pressure from increasing climate changes. Take a look through and learn about some wines, regions and producers you are less familiar with and throw some support to a region taking the force of climate change on the chin.
SOME LINKS TO CHECK OUT...
Australian Wine Discovered - great education site for everything Australia
I'll Drink To That (IDTT) - this is the site I found the Australian Wine Education Program on, and I will mention again that if you have not found Levi Dalton's site - you are not doing everything you can to maximize your wine knowledge. This is the best resource for the deep dive into wine, period.
Red Cross website - the Red Cross works in the US and around the world to help those in need, including Australia.