Mornington Peninsula winery Ten Minutes by Tractor suffered a devastating fire on Sunday afternoon.
A storage facility – an old tractor shed – attached to the winery’s cellar door and restaurant went up in flames at about 3.30pm.
Around 40 customers and staff were evacuated from the Main Ridge restaurant due to the blaze, with one chef suffering burns to the face and arms.
Wine and several restored, vintage tractors – including a 1928 Fordson – were lost in the blaze. Owner Martin Spedding had hoped to one day house the tractors in a small museum on the property.
The most heartbreaking loss is the restaurant’s cellar, Spedding tells Broadsheet, which had been built up since Ten Minutes by Tractor opened in 2007. The collection contained many rare bottles as well as a portion of the vineyard's library of past vintages. Luckily a portion of the collection was also held at another location. Spedding believes more than $500,000 worth of wine has been lost.
Some offers from the public have already been made to help restore the library. The restaurant is one of the peninsula’s most popular, long-running fine diners, and takes its name from the owners’ three vineyards, which are only ten minutes – by tractor – apart.
"Both the winery and restaurant have been spared and nobody seriously injured," the restaurant said in a Facebook statement. "Sadly we have lost many of our beloved possessions including vintage wines and our 1928 Fordson and 1938 Allis Chalmers Tractors."
The restaurant and cellar door are closed until further notice, with Ten Minutes By Tractor staff being temporarily relocated to the restaurant's sister bistro Petit Tracteur.
"We want to thank everyone for their messages, goodwill and support over the past 24 hours," the vineyard said on Facebook. "Our business wouldn’t be able to survive without our incredible staff and customers. The @cfavic have been amazing over this time and we are so appreciative of everything they’ve done."
Popular winery ravaged by fire https://t.co/ZYvmABF1EF— MSN Australia (@MSNAustralia) February 25, 2018
Seems a fire 🔥 occurring around Main Ridge area. Can hear the trucks arriving. Hope all is ok. pic.twitter.com/uFKGPCf6cT— Adem Karafili (@Adem_Karafili) February 25, 2018
Sad news that over $500k of wine destroyed in fire at Ten Minutes By Tractor winery on Mornington Peninsula this afternoon. Restaurant not damaged so owner hopes will re-open soon. Cause of blaze being investigated. pic.twitter.com/c5S4CjOlDl— Joseph Dunstan (@josephdunstan) February 25, 2018