Dr. Anita Oberholster’s research on the impact of smoke exposure on grape and wine composition started after the 2017 wildfires. After receiving several offers of grapes and having her own research grapes at the Oakville Experimental Station affected, the UC Davis Cooperative Extension Specialist quickly planned a new research study.
This study aimed to investigate the many winemaking strategies suggested to limit the extraction of volatile phenols, or VP (smoke taint markers), from grapes. Unfortunately, in red wines they found that extraction of volatile phenols happens so quickly that no protocol significantly impacted the wine in the long term, although, this will depend somewhat on the level of VP present.
Current research is focused on evaluating the different amelioration techniques available and relating volatile phenol profiles to wine sensory characteristics. Financial support and a dedicated Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer analytical instrument was urgently needed after research commenced.
Dr. Oberholster greatly appreciates the industry for their support, be it in grapes, in knowledge, and/or financial donations. For the latter, we are grateful and thankful to the following supporters:
The Diane and Ron Miller Charitable Fund, The Lyon-Cisneros Family Research Fund, The Rossi Endowment, American Vineyard Foundation, The Napa Valley Vintners, and Wine Business Monthly.