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May 30, 2022 View:

Queensland wine industry loses A$18 billion

Queensland lost $18 billion between 2010 and 2019 due to a combination of extreme weather and the global new coronavirus pandemic, accounting for more than half of the nation's $35 billion loss, a new report from the Australian Climate Commission finds.

Image from: Australian Financial Insight

A major Queensland winemaker is being reimbursed for almost all of its 2020 wines.

By 2100, the number of annual global deaths caused by extreme heat will exceed all deaths recorded by the new coronavirus in 2020, according to a "Hitting Home" forecast released Wednesday.

Queensland's Great Barrier Reef is in serious danger of bleaching an estimated half of its corals under marine ecosystem changes in the past five years.

Heavy rains caused more than half of Queensland's extensive flooding in 2019, with the Climate Council describing it as one of the worst disasters in the region's history.

Simon Bradshaw, lead author of the report, said the findings show that local weather extremes have been unusual over the past two years and that there is no way for Australia to avoid the effects of climate change, especially since many coastal communities in Queensland are in the path of cyclones and the state has had many record-breaking hot days recently.

Dr Bradshaw said: There is hardly anywhere else in the world with as great a renewable energy opportunity as Australia or Queensland.

He believes that zero emissions should be achieved by 2040, using existing renewable resources and investing more in renewable energy.

Storms, droughts, floods and rising temperatures have hit Queensland's winemaking industry hard, forcing them to adopt new technologies and more resilient foreign grape varieties.

Mike Hayes, head winemaker at Sirromet Wines for 42 years, has seen the effects of extreme weather firsthand.

The increasing temperatures in summer and at night compress our harvest, so our ability to select grapes becomes a challenge. There was also more sugar in the grapes due to the warmer day and night temperatures. To make matters worse, we had the worst drought, losing 98.8% of the grapes in 2020.

He said Queensland winemakers were leading many parts of Australia and the world in investing in overseas grape varieties that were more resistant to climate change and in establishing alternate grape supplies.

Winemakers in Queensland are experimenting with Portuguese, Spanish and French grape varieties Queensland now has more than 100 varieties, he says. We have developed the Vineyard of the Future in Stanthorpe, which has more than 80 varieties that we can use in our vineyards if needed as climate change intensifies.

Queensland accounts for only half of the 1 per cent of the nation's wine growers, but our research is at the forefront.