Fires break out now and then in the immediate vicinity of vineyards. It can be violent fires that go on for days, or even weeks. Although the vines may not be affected directly by the fire, will the smoke have an impact on the finished wine? Yes, it is very likely, according to an article in Wines & Vines about a fire in Monterey County in California that raged in July. Winegrowers there know what this is all about. It has happened before.
The grapes, they say, absorb the smoky flavours. The technology exists to test the grapes to see if they have become smoke tainted before harvesting. The smoke will above all be in the skin so a short skin contact is recommended during vinification. Moreover, says Matt Shea, vineyard manager at Bernardus Winery in Carmel, there are yeasts that have the ability to extract less of the smoky aromas.
Read more about smoke tainted vineyards here: winesandvines.com.
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