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Smoke Taint

When vineyards and grapes are exposed to smoke this can result in wines with undesirable sensory characters, such as smoky, burnt, ashy or medicinal, usually described as ‘smoke tainted’. Consumers have been shown to respond negatively to smoke tainted wines. The compounds in smoke primarily responsible for the taint are the free volatile phenols that are produced when wood is burnt.

The main goal of this project is to determine the link between grape compositional and wine sensory data and prepare a stock of experimental wines for future work. The objectives are as follows:

  • To correlate the levels of targeted glycosylated compounds measured in smoke exposed grapes with the final levels in vinified wines.

  • To transfer analytical methods at NWGIC from AWRI to establish analytical capacity for the Australian Wine Industry in preparation of emergency response in the event of large scale bushfires in future years.

  • Develop rapid analysis methods to classify degree of smoke taint in grapes and wine.

  • Correlate the levels of targeted compounds in smoke exposed grapes to wine sensory outcomes to assist harvest decisions at low to moderate levels of smoke exposure for Shiraz, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

  • To provide sufficient wines for panel training and longitudinal assessment of wines made from varying levels of grape exposure to bushfire smoke.

Project date

1 Jan 2020-31 Dec 2021

Principal investigator

Schmidtke, Leigh

Research organisation

Project led by

Multiple industries
Fruits Other rural industries Wine

Wine Australia

Wine Australia helps foster and encourage profitable, resilient and sustainable Australian winegrape and wine businesses by investing in research and …

Multiple industries
Fruits Other rural industries Wine
  • Location


  • Organisation type

    Research funding body

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