Wine industry faces wildfire smoke taint uncertainty


The wine industry is dealing with the risk of smoke taint due to wildfires in August and September during the brunt of harvest, the latest challenge in an already difficult year. “In 2017 and 2018, it was later in the season. There were less grapes still on the vine,” Anita Oberholster, with UC Davis Viticulture and Enology, said. “This year it came pretty early on. So, the impact will be more severe, it will be more widespread. But obviously it’s almost impossible to predict.”Revolution Winery & Kitchen in Sacramento is both a restaurant and on-site winery. Every wine on their menu is of their making from grapes within 60 miles of the city. “We’re in Clarksburg all the time, we’re in Lodi, Amador County, El Dorado County,” winemaker Colleen Sullivan said. “We go out to the vineyards and do the hard stuff for you, and you come and visit us here.” The county currently only allows outdoor dining, so the smoke impacted both arms of their business. “We saw our sales really just kind of come to a standstill for a little while, while the smoke was really strong,” owner Gina Genshlea said. “It’s caused a little bit of anxiety I guess, and we had to react quickly. My winemaking team has had to go out into the vineyards earlier and bring back grape varieties and ferment them ahead of time so we could check for smoke taint. So, that’s one extra step in an already labor-intensive process.”Winemakers like Sullivan are essentially conducting micro samples to determine whether to bring the whole lot. “These compounds are naturally– that causes smoke impact– is naturally present in grapes. During wildfires there is just an excessive amount that is being released when it’s burning,” Oberholster explained. “It’s not a health concern. It’s totally a quality concern. It’s really an example of too much of a good thing is not a good thing anymore.”Although it will be weeks to see if there is any smoke taint, Revolution is hopeful and decided to bring in all the fruit since the air has been clearing. “You can treat, and you can still make pretty good quality wine,” Oberholster said. “I can tell you nobody is going to put on the shelf wine that is smoke impacted. We just really don’t want to impact the image that we have.”

The wine industry is dealing with the risk of smoke taint due to wildfires in August and September during the brunt of harvest, the latest challenge in an already difficult year.

“In 2017 and 2018, it was later in the season. There were less grapes still on the vine,” Anita Oberholster, with UC Davis Viticulture and Enology, said. “This year it came pretty early on. So, the impact will be more severe, it will be more widespread. But obviously it’s almost impossible to predict.”

Revolution Winery & Kitchen in Sacramento is both a restaurant and on-site winery. Every wine on their menu is of their making from grapes within 60 miles of the city.

“We’re in Clarksburg all the time, we’re in Lodi, Amador County, El Dorado County,” winemaker Colleen Sullivan said. “We go out to the vineyards and do the hard stuff for you, and you come and visit us here.”

The county currently only allows outdoor dining, so the smoke impacted both arms of their business.

“We saw our sales really just kind of come to a standstill for a little while, while the smoke was really strong,” owner Gina Genshlea said. “It’s caused a little bit of anxiety I guess, and we had to react quickly. My winemaking team has had to go out into the vineyards earlier and bring back grape varieties and ferment them ahead of time so we could check for smoke taint. So, that’s one extra step in an already labor-intensive process.”

Winemakers like Sullivan are essentially conducting micro samples to determine whether to bring the whole lot.

“These compounds are naturally– that causes smoke impact– is naturally present in grapes. During wildfires there is just an excessive amount that is being released when it’s burning,” Oberholster explained. “It’s not a health concern. It’s totally a quality concern. It’s really an example of too much of a good thing is not a good thing anymore.”

Although it will be weeks to see if there is any smoke taint, Revolution is hopeful and decided to bring in all the fruit since the air has been clearing.

“You can treat, and you can still make pretty good quality wine,” Oberholster said. “I can tell you nobody is going to put on the shelf wine that is smoke impacted. We just really don’t want to impact the image that we have.”

This content is imported from Facebook.
You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.



Source link