Late in the afternoon of Sunday the 15th of Feburary 2015, we experienced something quite extraordinary on our Hermitage Road 'Field of Mars' estate. The day had been mostly hot and clear, with some dark clouds hovering across the horizon. We thought we would get some rain, but what we weren't expecting was for an air funnel or 'mini tornado' to touch down in the vineyard.
There has been a degree of sensationalism in the press as the video coverage jumped from one news agency to the next, with some suggestions that our vineyard was 'destroyed'. Rest assured that this definitely isn't the case, with a vast majority of our vineyards untouched and winery operations not affected.
What we experienced was a very isolated, freak weather event that unfortunately ripped apart a large equipment shed and an unknown number of our Semillion vines. We will know exactly the number of vines once the debris is cleared from the vineyard, but at this point it would appear to be 5-6 rows of our Block 3 'Field of Mars' Semillon (roughly 150 vines) that have been lost. This represents about 1% of our overall Semillon vineyard, and won't have any effect on our ability to produce top-class wines for you to enjoy.
The strongest of praise must be given to Cellar Door manager Cameron, as well as team members Alison and Jackie, who responded quickly and calmly to keep guests on the vineyard safe during the chaos. They also filmed the incredible footage that you have seen across social media and news outlets.