The wildfires burning through British Columbia have destroyed homes, forests, and habitats, and now the wine industry is at risk. Researchers say the excessive smoke being produced is allowing ash and other toxic residues to seep into the grapes. This will taint the flavour of the grapes making them bitter.
Wesley Zandberg, a chemistry professor at the University of British Columbia said “smoke-exposed grapes can sometimes lead to wines that are… really dominated by these smoky, ashy cigarette-like aromas that are pretty much unacceptable to the consumers.” Out of the 262 active fires in B.C., 85 of them are situated in the Okanagan region, famous for their wineries and vineyards.
Zandberg also explained that sometimes the grapes are easy to remove as they would smell like smoke. But other times the smoke particles bind with the sugar, and the contamination smell would not be noticeable to the human nose. He added that the smoke taint could be removed by using different yeasts or refining agents while harvesting the grapes.
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