No sour grapes: Hit hard by smoke damage, Okanagan wineries look to a brighter future
Last year’s fires have wreaked havoc on at least one Okanagan winery.
In a blog posted Thursday, the Mavety family, owners of Blue Mountain Winery, explained that thick smoke from the 2021 Thomas Creek wildfire in Okanagan Falls decimated their last crop of grapes.
“Although attempts to mitigate the impact of the contamination were attempted, the results did not meet the winery’s quality standards,” the Mavetys said in the post.
“We made the very difficult decision not to bottle the 2021 vintage simply because we did not want to jeopardize the reputation we have worked tirelessly to establish over the past three decades. While this unprecedented disruption to production is disappointing for everyone…we are confident that we will resume manufacturing premium wines with the 2022 vintage.”
wine: British Columbia wineries get creative with smoke-tainted grapes”” width=”632″ height=”356″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/media.globalnews.ca/videostatic/news/2h8rxec9cy-o7nuxvhab1/GN0625ROBIN.jpg?w=1040&quality=70&strip=all” loading=”lazy” srcset=”” sizes=”” data-sizes=”(min-width: 1040px) 1040px,(min-width: 720px) 720px,450px”/>
No wine: British Columbia wineries get creative with smoke-tainted grapes
They went on to say that the vines weren’t actually affected by the Thomas Creek wildfire, which started in July and continued through September.
Other wineries contacted to see if there was similar damage chose not to discuss the issues.
Will Smith Banned From Oscars For 10 Years After Chris Rock Slap
Vaccinated Canadians may show symptoms of COVID-19 despite testing negative. here’s why
The effects of smoke on wine grapes can range from what is called influence or impact, which can be relatively minor, to the smell of smoke, where the wine is considered faulty.
Wildfire smoke is becoming a constant around the world, given the escalation of wildfires, and the cost associated with damage can be staggering. It is estimated that the Australian wine industry suffered $300 million in damages during the 2003 season.
White Rock Lake officially caused by lightning, other major 2021 wildfire investigations underway
In turn, researchers are very interested in it. Near the Okanagan, a 2020 study by a team of UBC Okanagan researchers led to the development of a preventative strategy to protect grapes from volatile phenols – flavor compounds found in smoke that can be absorbed by the ripening grapes and subsequently impact the flavor of the wine.
“This is certainly one of the biggest concerns, if not the biggest, facing wine communities today,” said Wesley Zandberg, assistant professor of chemistry at UBC Okanagan and author of the study, in a press release when the study is published.
“When you look at the catastrophic wildfire seasons that California and British Columbia have had in recent years, and the season that Australia is currently experiencing, I don’t think a solution can come quickly enough. Winegrowers are under great pressure to find a way to protect their crops. »
Wildfires in British Columbia on Monday: Army arrives at Thomas Creek, White Rock Lake fire grows, thick smoke from Coquihalla
According to Zandberg, when wine grapes absorb the compounds from the smoke, the grapes react by coating the sugar compounds using their enzymes. This sugar coating masks the smoky smell and the taste of volatile phenols until it is released again by the yeast during the fermentation process.
This means that many winemakers cannot detect the smell of smoke until the grapes are fermented, meaning growers have to wait weeks to find out if their plants are suitable or not.
Meanwhile, the costs and risks increase as their crops rely on the vine.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.