Confusion with Winegrape Smoke Taint - Part 2

Confusion with Winegrape Smoke Taint - Part 2

Tim Hammerich
Tim Hammerich
News Reporter
With California Ag Today, I’m Tim Hammerich.

As grape harvest continues, so do concerns about how smoke-tainted grapes might impact wine quality. Growers are getting samples tested, but labs are inundated.

Oberholster… “The backlog at labs are now like around anything from 5-30 days, depending on what lab you're sending it to.”

That’s Dr. Anita Oberholster, a cooperative extension specialist in enology. She says many of the results are falling into a grey area which can really limit a grower’s options.

Oberholster… “What sometimes happens is because there's this huge gray area a winery would say: Okay, I will accept your fruit. However, if the wine ends up being impacted, I will pay you only this percentage of the value of your fruit. Or I will send you the fruit back and you need to pay me for my processing costs.”

That grey area is due to the fact that there are not industry standards for how much of these compounds are tolerable in the fruit. In some cases growers have insurance that can help recoup some of their costs.

Oberholster… “If you have a higher end contract, some insurance contracts will give you some money for decrease in quality. So if it gets rejected down the line, you can potentially still put a claim in, but it really depends on your specific insurance.”

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