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Mitigation of Climate Change Impacts (Smoke Taint) on the National Wine Industry



This collaborative Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) and Victorian Government Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) project aims to evaluate a range of possible remedial management options and tools for dealing with smoke affected grapes and wine.


The exposure of vineyards and grapes to smoke from bushfires and/or controlled burn events may result in ‘smoke tainted’ wine, that can cause serious economic losses to the sector.

Since 2003, major fire events have affected over $400M worth of grapes and wine that were either rejected commercially or downgraded because of smoke taint.

The frequency of bushfires and controlled burns is expected to increase under various climate change scenarios, therefore it is important that the Australian wine sector develop cost effective remediation tools to manage smoke affected grapes and wine.

Research approach

The project will establish critical consumer sensory thresholds of key smoke taint volatile phenols and their associated glycosides in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz (oaked and unoaked) using proven dilution techniques.

Once these critical chemical threshold concentrations have been determined for each variety and style, the project will trial options to remove smoke related free volatile phenols and their associated glycosides from affected wines, or apply treatments that will facilitate the degradation of these free volatile phenols and their glycosides in wines.

Through DEDJTR’s co-investment, vineyard mitigation strategies will be examined for reducing the uptake and concentration of smoke taint compounds in the vine and grapes.

Sector benefits

Remediation and mitigation treatments will be carefully evaluated and reported to help the wine sector implement cost-effective solutions in their business.

Funding partner

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme.