Welshman’s Reef winemaker, Ron Snep, has gone 40 kilometres south to ensure his grape production can continue in the face of increasingly hotter temperatures in the Bendigo wine region.

Mr Snep said by purchasing a vineyard in Smeaton, near Daylesford, he has secured a safer more reliable place to grow his future harvests due to the Macedon wine region being a cooler climate.  It also has more reliable rainfall and lower risk of frost than his Welshman’s Reef vineyard.

“Climate change has altered the growing schedule of my fruit resulting in a shorter and earlier harvesting periods,” Mr Snep said.

“Grape harvesting has moved, on average, 1.7 days earlier every year since 2000.

“I have had to invest in more refrigeration, storage, and manpower to combat the changes, which has created a higher workload during harvest.

“It’s a real juggling act of where to put the fruit as all the contractors come in all at once with the grapes making it more difficult to do quality assurance.

“We’ve also had to start refrigerating the fruit before we begin fermentation, which we’ve never had to do before.

“While the installation of a 13-kilowatt solar energy system has sustainably offset my energy budget, my hard costs are still rising.

“I knew I had to do something so I used Wine Australia and the Australian Wine Research Institute to access up to date research and learn more about climate change impacts.

“While the Smeaton vineyard will take 10 years to start producing grapes, I strongly urge other winemakers and vineyard owners to do the same and plan for the future.

“Make yourself available to look at the research. Often people are too busy focusing on their business to step back and look at the bigger picture.”

Former Bendigo based wineries, Passing Clouds and Pondalowie, have also purchased vineyards in cooler climate regions to help keep grape production flowing.

Climate proofing is a necessity for any business planning for long term success as climate change impacts will be felt across all industries in a variety of ways.