Smoke Taint Testing

Combat smoke taint quickly and inexpensively

Ameliorate smoke taint’s effects by getting clear and actionable chemistry data on your wine made from fruit exposed to smoke. Get recommendations for how to recover damaged fruit, making a wine customers will love while wasting less.

How does smoke taint impact wine?

When vineyards and grapes are exposed to smoke this can result in wines with undesirable sensory characters, such as smoky, burnt, ashy or medicinal, usually described as ‘smoke tainted’. The compounds in smoke often responsible for taint are largely free volatile phenols. The same phenols are produced when wood is burned, for example.

Sugars bind to these smoke compounds, so you can’t initially taste them and they don’t have a smoky aroma, but if the sugars break down, they may release the smoke compounds. These are glycosylated compounds. These compounds can be released into the wine or even the mouth while drinking the wine, causing the perception of a smoky flavor.

However, from the moment your wine hits the bottle to when it sells, smoke taint might not have an impact on your wine.

Despite all the worry around glycosylated compounds, it is uncertain that smoke taint compounds will express in the wine over time. Most retail wines are not designed to age and are typically consumed within a year. For such productions, the winemaker may consider the cost of various mitigation strategies against potential smoke effects over longer periods of time to be unwarranted?

Tastry’s Approach to Smoke Taint Analysis

A Few of the Compounds Tastry Measures
Guaiacol
4-Methylguaiacol
o-Cresol
m-Cresol
p-Cresol

Since the majority of grocery store wines are consumed within a year after purchasing, Tastry takes a different approach that is designed for the typical winemaker that doesn’t involve measuring the glycosylated compounds in finished wines that may or may not be released from residual sugar breaking down years down the road. Instead, Tastry measures unbound smoke taint compounds post secondary fermentation.

Tastry goes beyond identifying concentrations of potentially problematic compounds. We give direction on how winemakers can lessen the impact of smoke taint through additions, blends, and changes that are specific to their needs.

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Case Study

Tastry Rescues an Entire Shale Canyon Vintage, Saving Keith Prader’s ‘Money and Reputation’

“Before Tastry, someone may have tried this wine and never wanted to drink my wine again. Tastry helped me save money, but it also saved my reputation.”

Keith Prader, founder and winemaker at Shale Canyon Wines

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