Smoke and Winegrape Research Pt 2

Smoke and Winegrape Research Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson with today’s Fruit Grower Report. Researchers at Washington State, Oregon State, and UC Davis are working to come up with ways to better prepare vineyards for the damage caused by wildfire smoke.

Dr. Tom Collins, from WSU’s Department of Viticulture and Enology, says air quality can change dramatically during a wildfire …

COLLINS … “We’ve been working on building a network of sensors actually located in commercial vineyards. And right now, in Washington we’ve got about a dozen sensors out. We had a few more, but there’s been some issues with some of them. But t he idea of having a sensor in the vineyard lets us look at what’s actually happening in vineyard locations.”

Collins says the sensors give them real-time information …

COLLINS … “We also work with atmospheric scientists in Pullman and at UC Davis to use that kind of information to build better models for forecasting where smoke is going to be dispersed during one of these events.”

Over the past several years, Collins says we’ve learned a lot …

COLLINS … “I think we’re making some real headway. I mean, early on in this research program part of the issue was convincing growers and wineries that hadn’t yet experienced it that it was something they needed to be concerned about. There’s a real learning curve to smoke-affected wines and I think we’ve reached a point where most people recognize that it is an issue.”

Collins believes while there’s still plenty to learn, they’re making significant progress.

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