Researchers seek smoke-resistant wine grapes

Researchers seek smoke-resistant wine grapes

13 November 2008

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Australia — The University of Adelaide has set out to find grape varieties less susceptible to smoke from bushfires.

Oenology lecturer Kerry Wilkinson said the wine industry needed grape and wine production methods that minimised the effects of smoke by vines.

Over the past five years, wine regions across Australia had reported financial losses and a decline in product quality following bushfires or controlled burns, she said.

“The aims and outcomes of this research are of major significance and relevance to the Australian wine industry,” Dr Wilkinson said.

“From a scientific perspective, our results will advance knowledge in the fields of viticulture, plant physiology and biochemistry.

“From an industry perspective, this insight will enable grape growers and winemakers to make informed decisions to minimise smoke-tainted wine, yielding clear economic benefits.”

Dr Wilkinson said while smoke taint was not an issue for all Australian wine regions, significant bushfires had occurred in most wine-producing states in the past five years.

“Given the forecast for warmer summers, the problem is only going to get worse,” she said.

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