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Wineries and cellar doors around South Australia are now closed

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Wineries around South Australia will be forced to close their cellar door operations from today

New COVID-19 restrictions have taken aim at South Australia’s wine regions, with the latest government directive forcing all wineries and cellar doors in the state to shut from midnight last night.

Update 15 April: A new police directive will allow wineries, cellar doors and breweries to resume selling from their premises on a takeaway basis, in line with the restrictions places on pubs and restaurants.

While licensed bars and restaurants have already been closed for the past week, many wine producers have continued to sell directly to consumers via delivery or takeaway, the latter of which authorities now say poses a heightened risk of community transmission. 

“Based on advice from [SA] Health and taking into account the circumstances that we’ve seen unfold in the Barossa Valley, it’s been identified that a significant risk area for transmission of COVID-19 is wineries and cellar door outlets,” Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said yesterday

This new development follows the identification of a cluster of cases linked to a wedding at Barossa Valley winery Lyndoch Hill in mid-March. The outbreak, traced to a group of American and Swiss tourists, has seen schools in the area closed in an effort to limit the spread in the region

“The incidents of spread that we saw in the Barossa Valley is something that we want to prevent. Having identified cellar doors and wineries as a risk area, we’re preventing that from happening in other locations around South Australia.

“As of midnight tonight we will be banning the sale of alcohol or other produce from cellar doors or wineries – they will not be permitted to open. We’re also prohibiting the tasting or sampling of produce, whether that’s beverages or food stuffs.”

The move also comes as part of a broader effort to discourage “discretionary” movement around the state. “We’re trying to limit unnecessary travel across the state, and with Easter coming we’re trying to encourage people to take unnecessary trips,” Stevens said.

Over the weekend the state government announced it would fine individuals and businesses defying current restrictions. Individuals who are found to be in violation of self-isolation orders face fines of $1000, while businesses that continue to operate without regard to recent restrictions face a $5000 penalty. As we’ve seen in the rolling announcements over the past week, that’s a very wide pool that ranges from pubs to auction houses.

Wine lovers can still support local makers by ordering online or via takeaway retailers, with many hospitality businesses affected by public gathering bans now taking advantage of temporarily loosened liquor licensing laws that allow cafes, restaurants and small bars to sell takeaway booze. Many wineries are also still delivering orders directly – so give your favourite producer a call.

As of Monday 3 March, there have been 305 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Australia. Readers are advised to consult SA Health’s website for the latest information.

Walter Marsh

Walter Marsh

Digital Editor
See Profile

Walter is a writer, editor and broadcaster living on Kaurna Country.

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