Forest fires result in smoke taint fears for South of France producers
Producers in the south of France have been warned of the risk of smoke taint after the many forest fires over the summer, particularly in the Aude and Hérault regions.
“Care should be exercised when a plot with a significant or proven risk [of smoke taint] has been identified. If possible, it should be fermented separately to avoid contaminating the winery”, Vincent Bouazza, analytical chemistry engineer at Dubernet Laboratories in Narbonne told Vitisphere.
In one month, the detailed analysis department he heads up carried out 150 analyses to monitor three molecules that are markers of smoke taint: guaiacol, methyl guaiacol and ortho-Cresol.
Initial results reveal the significant extent of contamination in the Hérault region and even more so in Aude. The wind carried sometimes heavy clouds of smoke and could potentially have contaminated plots a few kilometres away from the fires. “It is not only vines 200 metres from the fire that are affected. Some 2 km away are just as contaminated”, said Bouazza.