Smoke and Winegrape Research Pt 1

Smoke and Winegrape Research Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson with today’s Fruit Grower Report. We’ve learned in recent years that smoke from wildfires and wine don’t mix well.

Dr. Tom Collins, from Washington State University’s Department of Viticulture and Enology, is part of a team studying the impact smoke has on wine thanks in part to the USDA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative …

COLLINS … “We started fairly quickly in 2017 putting our heads together with colleagues at Oregon State and UC Davis. And so, that SCRI grant I alluded to is a joint project across the three schools. There’s about 15 researchers involved in that project.”

That hope to come up with more and better ways to mitigate the problems caused by smoke …

COLLINS … “And that includes a range of things including, as you suggest, mitigation. So, we’ve been working on what we call barrier sprays, things that we could spray in a vineyard ahead of a smoke exposure or potentially even at the beginning of and exposure if we know one is coming.”

Collins says the sprays cover the grapes to protect them from smoke damage …

COLLINS … “But if you go back in after the event is over with an air-blast sprayer and wash the clay off, then it takes it away from the berry surface and then we see, even with just our backpack sprayers on a research basis, we see a 50% reduction in the concentration of markers in the fruit and in the wine we make from that fruit.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on winegrapes and what’s being done to protect them from smoke damage.

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