Smoke Taint

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

smoke taint in grapes and wine has become an increasing problem in the 21st century as the incidence of bushfires or wildfires escalates in many wine regions that are experiencing hotter and drier periods due to climate change.

Grapevines become increasingly sensitive to any atmospheric smoke during the growing season, with the likely uptake most marked from veraison onwards. Depending on the stage of grapevine development and the level and duration of smoke exposure, smoke-tainted wines can display an array of different sensorial attributes, variously described as ‘smoked meat’, ‘disinfectant’, ‘leather’, ‘burnt’, ‘smoky’, ‘salami’, ‘bacon’, ‘vinyl/plastic’, ‘medicinal/Bandaid’, ‘charry’, and ‘ashtray’.