Fires destroy Tasmanian vineyard

Yaxley Estate Vineyard in Tasmania has lost three quarters of its vines to the wildfires that have been sweeping the Australian state since last Thursday.

Tasmania firesFormer firefighter John Yaxley managed to save AU$60,000-worth of wine by directing his vineyard sprinkler system towards the shed where it was stored.

With five hectares of organic-certified vineyard, predominantly Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, Yaxley told The Mercury that the fires had destroyed “the best crop we’d ever had.”

Despite a growing international focus on Tasmanian wine, he suggested that he would now focus on downsizing his vineyard operation and expand his livestock business instead.

Although Yaxley’s own house close to the cellar was saved, the property’s main home and a caretaker’s house were both destroyed. Sheep and horses were also rescued from the fierce blaze, which was fuelled by 30 hectares of natural bush and only narrowly prevented from wiping out the town of Copping.

Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard is currently visiting Tasmania’s south coast, where fires continue to blaze. Although no deaths have been reported, around 100 properties have been destroyed and Gillard has called for residents both in Tasmania and the similarly affected New South Wales to be vigilant.

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