Friday 20/12/2019, South Australia was devastated by bush fire and my mate James Tilbrook and his wife Annabelle lost their beloved winery, vineyard and livelihood.
James & I became mates in 2006 when I returned to SA and realised the passion of small producers in this great state. By small, I mean James & Annabelle produce 1000 cases per annum. They still pick and do most of the art of wine making by hand. They are a truly passionate small batch winery.
As James explains on his facebook page, they have insurance. And rebuilding their winery will be covered.
On Friday they lost EVERYTHING including all of their stock, except 40 cases of back vintage that were stored off site.
So with a multi-million dollar mortgage, they have no way to generate income to pay their bills while their winery is re-built.
And re-build? Sure they can re-plant, but James's oldest grapes clones date back to his first planting in 1999. This is irreplaceable. They have lost 90% of their vines and all 45 acres of their farm is destroyed.
The probability is that the small amount of vines left will probably be smoke tainted and therefore it may be 2-3 years before his vineyard can be income generating again.
I am reaching out to anyone in my network in South Australia, Australia and the world, who have come close to losing anything let alone everything.
This family desperately needs our help so that they can save their beautiful vineyard and continue making food and wine for us to enjoy.