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Smoke Taint in Wine Grapes Information Session

  • Frankland River Community Resourse Centre Frankland River (map)

Where:                Frankland River Community Resource Centre
When:                 Tuesday 8th December
Time:                   7.30am complimentary breakfast 8.00am Australian Wine Research Industry presentation (45 minutes) Questions & Answers (15 minutes) Conclude 9am.

Where:                Frankland River Community Resource Centre
When:                 Tuesday 8th December
Time:                   9.30am Guest -­‐  Peter Northover  (Cranbrook shire) General  business
Contact:              Hunter Smith – 0428 551 544

Released by the Frankland River Wine Makers and Grape Growers Association

This information is to help build awareness regarding the issue of smoke taint in gapes and resulting wines.

Smoke as a result of fire can have a severe impact on the taste and quality of grapes to be used in wine production. Smoke taint can lead to undesirable burnt, dirty, ash, disinfectant, smoked meat, leather and charring flavours. As a result the wine can become unfit for sale.

The level to which a grapevine is susceptible to smoke exposure is directly related to the growth stage and veraison period (the onset of ripening) – The highest risk period being from January to completion of harvest (end of April).

  • Smoke taint can impact on all grape varieties.
  • Heavy exposure of smoke to grapevines for a short period (of 30 minutes or less) is sufficient to result in smoke taint.
  • Repeated smoke exposures and or exposures for a long period of time have also been found to result in a build up of smoke aromas and compounds in resulting wines.
  • Buyers of fruit now can assess grapes for smoke damage and can reject fruit based on “threshold” levels

Where the period from seven days post veraison to harvest has the highest potential for smoke uptake. During this period, grapes are the most sensitive to smoke and atmospheric factors.

It has been identified that higher fuel loads create greater smoke loads. Smoke can travel considerable distance and this needs to be considered when doing a burn at a high risk time of year.

Within the Frankland River region and surrounding shires it has been identified that there is an increase in the number of failed blue gum plantations or farms being converted back from plantation timber to farmland. This increases fuel and hence smoke loads.

To reduce risk of smoke taint damage to grapes we would ask land owners to consider the following:

  • Delay burn time until after the grape harvest is complete.
  • Liaise with adjoining grape growing landholders to advise on burn logistics and to negotiate alternatives if the burn conditions are not suitable.
  • Liaise with Regional Wine Growers Association before burn season to inform of planned permit burns and the potential impacts.
  • Avoid burning during the veraison period -­‐ where grapevines are the most sensitive to
  • smoke exposure (ranges Jan-­‐Apr).
  • Avoid burning “green” fuels to reduce smoke intensity.
  • Avoid burning in areas of high risk – gullies/valleys with limited wind movement.
  • Avoid burning when wind direction is likely to move smoke into grape growing areas.

Smoke taint can result in partial and/or full damage to the crop. Liability for damage to property is the responsibility of the permit holder/ land owner.

These are high value intensive crops with the potential for high value crop losses.

Earlier Event: December 7
Raising Riesling
Later Event: January 8
Winestate Wine Show Invitation