Bushfire Relief Fund 2020

Published by Tamara Harrison - 12th Mar 2021

Naked Angels help get Aussie winemakers and grape growers on the road to recovery.

As a community of compassionate wine-lovers, we’re not shy of digging in for independent winemakers, especially when the chips are down.

And boy have they needed it. Months of overseas tariff hikes, Covid-19 restrictions, catastrophic bushfires and drought have wreaked havoc with winemakers and growers right across the land.

But with the help of our army of awesome Angels, we’ve been there to give them a practical hand time and again.

The first issue of 2020 we jumped in to tackle was the fall out of the devastating bushfires that ripped through Australia that summer. 

A call to arms for our Bushfire Relief Fund went out that January and support poured in from across the Naked world. 

Together with Angels here, in the UK and in the US, we raised a massive $329,083 to split between Naked winemakers affected by the fires, and the charities CFS Foundation and Rural Aid that support their rural communities.

The response from those winemakers was very raw and touching.

Drew Tuckwell, the talent behind Kollectiv Wines, buys his grapes from top notch growers around Orange, NSW. The loss of their grapes in 2020 had a profound effect of Drew’s livelihood.

“In a nearly 30-year career in winemaking, I have never not made wine during the harvest. But you need to harvest grapes to make wine and unfortunately in 2020, the grapes were completely ruined by bushfire smoke taint. Not only was I unable to make my wines, but our whole cash flow cycle has been interrupted. This, in turn, disrupts the funding for the next harvest. 

“Because of the financial backing of Naked Wines and their Angel members, I’ve been one of the lucky ones. But the issues are ongoing and there are more winemakers, growers and rural communities that need support. It’s vital to our survival”

And the funds donated to Rural Aid have made an even bigger initiative possible

Rural Aid provide critical support such as water, hay, financial aid and counselling to farmers devastated by natural disasters like drought, flood and fire. In the last financial year alone, they provided more than $28 million of assistance to farming families and the communities they call home.

The donation to Rural Aid that Angels made possible will help get their new support program, VineAid, off the ground with a cash injection of $50,000. All thanks to the generosity of Naked Angels across the globe.

What will VineAid do?

VineAid will provide grape growers devastated by the horrific 2019/20 bushfires with financial relief and access to professional counselling services to help them get back on their feet. 

That’s real, practical support where it’s needed most. The loss of grapes through smoke taint is estimated to be up to $100m. Not to mention the thousands of hectares of vines incinerated by fire. And because of the cyclical nature of the crops, many growers have been without an income ever since.

Growers that register with Rural Aid can apply for support including $1,000 of financial assistance or bill payments, a $500 pre-paid Visa card,  drinking water and fodder. They can also access Rural Aid’s resilience building wellbeing team for counselling support.

As you may know, many of our winemakers are growers too, so we’re thrilled to get behind VineAid and do our bit.

I wish I could say the crisis is behind us now, but it isn’t. 

This is just the beginning. Australia’s climate challenges, and the repercussions for our winemakers and growers, will be ongoing. Unpredictable and extreme weather conditions are here to stay. 

But with the backing of our amazing wine-drinking community, we’ll continue to support them wherever we can. 

How you can help

The simplest way to keep supporting your local independent winemakers is to enjoy their wine! 

To follow the Bushfire winemakers and hear how they’re travelling, click their names below.

Drew Tuckwell (Kollective), Ash Horner (Horner Wines), Geoff Thompson (Grounded Cru), Carla Rodeghiero & Malcolm Burdett (Bare Branches), Randal Tomich (RT), Judy & Glen Kelly (Chateau Coco), Thomas Hordern (Wiley Rooster), Rob Paulazzo (R.Paulazzo) and Damien Stevens & Jodie Belleville (Fuzzy & May).

You can find all 57 Naked winemakers here.

To register with VineAid as a grower, or to donate, visit www.ruralaid.org.au/vineaid