Vic winery owner’s livelihood up in flames

A winemaker has watched footage of his home of 40 years and livelihood being reduced to ashes after escaping a ferocious blaze in Victoria’s east.

Andrew Clarke of Jinks Creek and his family fled the Bunyip State Park fire, but watched their wine bar, gallery and accommodation burn down on Sunday.

“I don’t want to see the devastation, but I am going to have to face up to it, we lost our entire … it is my life’s work and we have lost our cellar door which we built over many years,” Mr Clarke told Nine’s Today program on Monday.

“I suppose everyone can imagine seeing your house go up in flames, I mean with all your clothes in it – you don’t realise what possessions you have got until they are gone. It is all gone.”

Mr Clarke said he had just bought equipment from Germany to brew beer and the roof of his winery had caved in, but he is waiting to find out if any of his half-a-million dollars worth of gear is salvageable.

“My insurance won’t cover it, there is no way, my livelihood’s in tatters,” he said.

“I don’t have any way of earning any money, I don’t know what to do, I have got to support my family, so I’m stuffed pretty much.”

He laid blame on Parks Victoria for not doing enough burn-offs in the area, especially after the royal commission into the Black Saturday fires recommended an increase in controlled burns.

“The ferocity of that fire wouldn’t have been as much if they had been doing what they are meant to do,” Mr Clarke said.

Tonimbuk resident Karen also lost her home and backed Mr Clarke’s claim of little being done about fire management in the state park.

“No one’s done anything out there for years,” she told ABC Radio.

“I had a notice on my now-non-existent fridge that was telling us, ‘Oh we’re going to do a fuel reduction burn’, just up the road from us.

“That was a year ago at least and the fuel was sitting there, nothing done, nothing, so all that wildlife, that’s all dead – all those echidnas, all those kangaroos, all those deer, all those koalas, all those goannas that we look at all the time.”

© AAP 2019