Smoke & Winegrapes: A Conversation with Glenn McGourty
With major wildfires occurring every year in California, winegrape growers and buyers are obviously concerned about the effect of smoke on vineyards. Do wildfires necessarily mean problems for vineyards?
“It can be difficult to determine if fruit has been compromised in quality when exposed to wildfire smoke, and whether or not smoke flavors will result when wine is fermented,” McGourty says. Among the factors that play a role are the vineyard’s proximity to an active fire, wind direction and speed, and air temperature.
To study this issue, McGourty formed a workgroup of local growers and winemakers with Anita Olberholster, UC Cooperative Extension enology specialist in the Department of Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis. The team analyzed 14 lots of wine from Lake County vineyards and one control lot from Napa. They focused on the presence of volatile phenols and glycoside compounds in the finished wine.
Tasters found it difficult to detect off flavors in wines with less than 6 micrograms per liter of guaiacol. And his team concluded that 6 to 10 micrograms per liter resulted in detectable smoke flavors in the wine, but levels below that threshold were unlikely to have an impact on wine quality.
McGourty says that sampling winegrapes close to harvest, performing micro-fermentations, and running a guaiacol lab analysis is a good way of determining whether smoke from wildfires is likely to damage the final product.
To learn more, view the video below.
Webinar: Two Invasive Species Threaten Grapevines – Brown Marmorated Stinkbug and Spotted Lanternfly 1:00 pm
Webinar: Two Invasive Species Threaten Grapevines – Brown Marmorated Stinkbug and Spotted Lanternfly
Jul 23 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Proper identification of invasive species can contribute to early detection and action to prevent the insect’s establishment and economic loss. This webinar for Lake County winegrape growers will focus on how to identify two insect[...]
When Glenn McGourty arrived in Lake County in the 1970s, he...
Sauvignon Blanc is Lake County’s flagship varietal...
With a long-standing reputation for professionalism and...
With major wildfires occurring every year in California,...
More than 60 growers, vineyard consultants, and pest...