- Homepage for the Wine Industry

Wine Business Blog

"There is no such thing as a vetted analysis for smoke taint"

October 02, 2018

Clark Smith with WineSmith Wines & Consulting comments on this post

What seems to be left out of this conversation is that there is no such thing as a vetted analysis for smoke taint in either grapes or wine. Stop referring to it that way.

The ETS free guaiacal is a test for smoke exposure, something every three-year-old in the North Coast knows already, and this includes Napa and Sonoma. The 0.5 ppb line is 1% of the aroma threshold of 50 ppb, and besides, guaiacol smells good. It's the basis of scotch whisky.

Constellation's voodoo analysis, which has not been vetted, throws in syringol, which has a threshold of 600 ppb and smells like sandalwood. They add up seven compounds and reject if the total is over 40, which it always is, smoke exposure or no.

It's obvious that Constellation does not want to work at long term relationships, and they don't care who they hurt.

There are wineries out there that are bringing in fruit on a contingency basis, Gallo among them. They actually want to be in the wine business. They understand that grapes are a perishable commodity, and making the wine will buy us time to evaluate and find solutions.

There are six promising approaches to treatment for those wines that actually are tainted. I am quite sanguine that we will refine these treatments within the year. Unlike the VA treatment I perfected in 1992, each affected wine may be a little different and the prescription may be a bit of an art form.

But we have some pretty smart people working on this in collaborations not seen since the '70s, and cool heads will prevail, watch and see. If the result is the exit of certain companies that don't belong in our community, we are perhaps the better for it.

Share This

Copyright© 1994-2020 by Wine Communications Group. All Rights Reserved. Copyright protection extends to all written material, graphics, backgrounds and layouts. None of this material may be reproduced for any reason without written permission of the Publisher. Wine Business Insider, Wine Business Monthly, Grower & Cellar News and Wine Market News are all trademarks of Wine Communications Group and will be protected to the fullest extent of the law.