Like many others, the Australian booze community has been touched by the 2019–2020 bushfires and resulting loss of life, land and livelihood. The list of beer, wine and spirits producers affected by fire (and now smoke damage) is lengthy.

Impacted regions include Adelaide Hills, Kangaroo Island and surrounds in South Australia; Tumbarumba, Canberra District, Hunter Valley, Southern Highlands and the Shoalhaven in New South Wales; and Beechworth, Alpine Valleys and King Valley in north-eastern Victoria, as well as the Gippsland Region.

Others regions and producers are suffering indirectly from transport issues, limited access to property and falling tourism numbers. Buy from these places, visit once it’s safe, and consider making a charitable donation.

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1. New Era 2018 tempranillo, Adelaide Hills, SA ($33)
An effortless, just shy of medium weight red that echoes many of the pleasures of the joven (young, fresh) red wines of Spain. Expect juiciness, faint tannins, sarsaparilla-like bitter-sweetness and a cranberry tang for freshness. On a hot day, it’s great chilled.

2. Reed & Co Distillery Gin & Juice, Bright, Victoria ($75)
As the label says, this is gin and juice, though in this carefully blended rendition it’s grape juice – a gewurztraminer from northern Victoria. Intriguing! The resulting spirit is hyper floral, citrusy yet dry, powerful yet fresh, intriguing and original. Pour long over ice and splash in soda water.

3. Joadja Distillery dry gin, Southern Highlands, NSW ($74)
Local botanicals from the Joadja valley have been employed to enhance and distinguish this dry gin. While the earthy, herbal glint of juniper is present, so too are notes of rose, green herbs, citrus and light pepper. It’s a superb gin for dry martinis, dirty or straight up.

4. Johansen Wines 2019 gamay, Tumbarumba, NSW ($25)
There are only a handful of independent wineries in Tumbarumba and tourism to the region is light, so buying direct from these wineries is a worthy thing. This is a very pretty lighter red, with cherry juice, brambly herbal detail and white pepper. I’m drinking mine out of tumblers, with gusto.

5. Bright Brewery Alpine Lager, Bright, VIC ($6)
Thirst-crushing stuff here. Dry, lightly bitter, with faint floral and hoppy characters in the mix. I detect something like alpine water and mountain herbs in the beer too, but I could be getting carried away with the high-country location. Anyway, this is wicked, no-fuss drinking.

Mike Bennie is a wine and drinks journalist, presenter, co-owner of Sydney’s P&V Wine + Liquor Merchants and co-founder of the Drink Easy Awards.

Read more “Unwined” columns here.

This story originally appeared in Melbourne print issue 29 and Sydney print issue 21.