Battered wineries dig deep

 Bungawarra Winery owner Jeff Harden is among seven Granite Belt wineries to donate to the huge flood relief wine raffle.
Bungawarra Winery owner Jeff Harden is among seven Granite Belt wineries to donate to the huge flood relief wine raffle.

THEY are facing flood damage in their own vineyards, but seven wineries on the Granite Belt are determined to give what they can to help fellow flood victims in Queensland and Victoria.

Close to 400 wineries and companies, from Australia and internationally, have raided their cellars to give to the Wine Relief Raffle – a fundraiser organisers believe is the largest of its kind in Australian history.

A staggering $240,000 worth of wine has beendivvied into 200 prizes, and all proceeds will help flood victims. The first prize isvalued at $30,000, with sec- ond and third at $20,000 and $13,000 respectively.

One of the seven localcontributors, Bungawarra Wines owner Jeffrey Harden, donated two dozen bottles of his wine to the raffle.

Mr Harden has suffered soil erosion between the vines and on roads through his property and still can’t get to his lagoon without being bogged, but he wasdismissive about the damage.

“When you get a fantastic idea like Tyson Stelzer’s, all you can do is support it. We’re out of the worst part now,” he said.

“A lot of Granite Beltvineyards have had small-scale erosion and water-related damages like that, but you can handle those things.”

The six other local wineries, Hidden Creek, Bents Road Winery, Symphony Hill, Ambar Hill Vineyard, Lucas Estate and Harrington Glen Wines, have similarly given as much as they can to the fund.

Wine writer Tyson Stelzer launched the raffle and said it was humbling to see the generosity from the industry.

“It’s such a heart-warming thing, and the Queensland wineries were among the first to respond,” he said.

“The support these guys are giving those who are in worse situations than their own, even though many have lost much of their income, is just an incredible thing.”

Living just kilometres from the Lockyer Valley flood zone, Mr Stelzer said the ball began to roll when he had his wine contacts calling to see if he was okay.

“I saw the need for support and had wineries around Australia calling up and asking if there was anything they could possibly do to help,” he said.

“I thought there’s a real opportunity to do something here, and I teamed up with WinePress who helped co- ordinate things.”

The previous fundraiser Mr Stelzer organised was in aid of the Victorian bushfires, which raised $250,000.

“I think this raffle has the potential to raise $1 million. If we sell most of the tickets then I’m sure we will,” he said.

Tickets are selling online for $30 each.

Wine raffle

200 prizes of wine packages exceeding $240,000 in value

Tickets $30, selling online

First prize $30,000

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