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Bushfire recovery case studies



The primary objective of this project is to extend bushfire recovery trials in the Adelaide Hills for a third season, to allow three small-scale trial sites to continue to be managed and monitored across vintage 2023. The trials are designed to:>

  • evaluate different pruning options for returning vines to production after they have been damaged by fire
  • evaluate the timing of trunk removal and renewal (immediately post-fire compared to winter pruning) for returning vines to production
  • determine a realistic range of costs associated with commercial scale recovery activities following damage by fire


The Cudlee Creek bushfire in the Adelaide Hills in December 2019 directly impacted on vineyards in the region. As well as concerns with smoke damage to grapes, fires damaged grapevines directly across large areas. The fact that these events have been rare in the past means that there has been very little opportunity to study the recovery of vines after fire. In response,

The Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia (PIRSA) and Wine Grape Council of SA funded a project with Pinion Advisory and Hamilton Viticulture to establish and monitor bushfire recovery trials in Adelaide Hills vineyards over two vintages – 2021 and 2022. Wine Australia partnered with PIRSA to provide funding for a third season of trials (2023) and to generate extension materials for the grape and wine sector.

Research approach

The project will manage and monitor three bushfire recovery trial sites in the Adelaide Hills for a third season. Activities include:

  • Recording of key phenology stages and manage vines at trial sites
  • Recording of yield components for all treatments
  • Collation of data for the final season
  • Capture of photography and video content from trial sites.

Results from the first two seasons were reported on posters at AWITC18 in June 2022. Additional extension materials and digital content will be generated by the end of the project, to inform grapegrowers and winemakers the best methods and timing for vine recovery after damage by fire. In addition, a seminar (or webinar) of findings will be presented to industry as well as a feature article of findings for industry publication. All resources will be housed on the Wine Australia website.

Sector benefits

All Australian vineyard managers face the increasing risk of damage by fire, due to changes in both climatic conditions and management practices. Findings from this project will be invaluable for vineyard managers if (when) they face the scenario of recovery from fire damage in the future.

This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.