Australian wineries count cost of storm that tops A$100m in insurance claims

The bill for damage caused by the recent storm that hit parts of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia has exceeded $100m, and is expected to climb even higher.

Latest figures from the Insurance Council of Australiahave revealed that the storm has so far generated around 20,000 insurance claims, with insurance losses so far predicted to be at least $115m across the three states.  However, the final toll is likely to be higher, given that some damage is not insured.

A spokesperson from the Insurance Council said that it would “take several months for the full extent of the losses to be known.

The storm, considered by Mildura locals to be the worst hailstorm to affect the region since the 1970’s, seriously damaged or destroyed more than 24,400 hectares of crops in Victoria in one of the state’s key food producing districts.   Up to 1238 hectares of wine grapes were destroyed or seriously damaged in the storm, while other crops to be badly hit included grain, legumes and table grapes.

Wine producer Russell McManus, who farms near Red Cliffs, estimates he has lost about three quarters of his crop this season, with the grape vines stripped of developing grapes.

“|’d say that approximately 75% of our properties are wiped out,” he said. “The remainder would have damage to a lesser extent, simply because our properties are spread out over an area. It will have an effect on next year’s crop as well, because it’s damaged the buds on the canes for the following season.”

McManus has estimated that the storm will cost him “hundreds of thousands of dollars”.

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Neville Blech
 

Qualified as a chartered accountant in 1959 and became passionate about food and wine whilst working in Italy in the early sixties.

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