The entire 2020 crop has been lost in some parts of Hunter Valley and Adelaide Hills wine regions, while many growers are picking only a fraction of their fruit

It was late October when Adrian Sparks caught sight of the first smoke rising from the hilly horizon. Within days the haze evolved into drift smoke, which grew thicker as the mountain behind the Mount Pleasant winery in the Hunter Valley caught fire.

“It was full on,” Adrian says. “There was smoke all through November and December. A clear day would still be hazy. At its worst, some days our eyes would sting. We’d be coughing. You’d have to stay inside with the doors shut and the air conditioning going. It was like an apocalypse..”

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