Overcoming taint from vineyard exposure to bushfire smoke


A partially burnt Adelaide Hills vineyard. Photo: K. Wilkinson

Bushfire frequency and severity have increased due to climate warming. Taint, from vineyard exposure to smoke, remains an issue of major concern for grape and wine producers worldwide, and an ongoing threat to long-term economic viability, despite significant scientific progress over the past decade.


In this project, field trials will occur in Australian and USA vineyards to:

  • evaluate sensors and develop methods for monitoring vineyard smoke exposure
  • identify physiological factors that influence smoke uptake by grapevines
  • build on current work to develop strategies for mitigating/remediating the sensory effects of smoke taint

Producers will benefit from faultless wines and consumers can enjoy wines uncompromised by smoke taint

Key outputs from this project

Research Articles

Szeto, C., Lloyd, N., Nicolotti, L., Herderich, M.J., & K.L. (2023) Beyond Volatile Phenols: An Untargeted Metabolomic Approach to Revealing Additional Markers of Smoke Taint in Grapevines (Vitis viniferaL.) cv. Merlot. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. DOI 10.1021/acs.jafc.2c09013

K Wilkinson, R Ristic, C SzetoDL Capone, L Yu, D Losic (2022) Novel use of activated carbon fabric to mitigate smoke taint in grapes and wine. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 28 (3), 500-507, DOI 10.1111/ajgw.12548

J.W. Favell, K.L. Wilkinson, R. Ristic, C. Szeto,…et al (27 authors!) (2022) Correlating Sensory Assessment of Smoke-Tainted Wines with Inter-Laboratory Study Consensus Values for Volatile Phenols. National Library for Medicine 27(15), 4892. DOI 10.3390/molecules27154892

M Modesti, C Szeto, R Ristic, W Jiang, J Culbert, C Catelli, F Mencarelli, P Tonutti, K Wilkinson (2021), Amelioration of smoke taint in Cabernet Sauvignon wine via post-harvest ozonation of grapes. Beverages, 7 (3), 44, DOI 10.3390/beverages7030044

M Modesti, C Szeto, R Ristic, W Jiang, J Culbert, K Bindon, C Catelli, F Mencarelli, P Tonutti, K Wilkinson (2021) Potential mitigation of smoke taint in wines by post-harvest ozone treatment of grapes. Molecules, 26 (6), 1798, DOI 10.3390/molecules26061798

C Szeto, R Ristic, D Capone, C Puglisi, V Pagay, J Culbert, W Jiang, M Herderich, J Tuke and K Wilkinson (2020) Uptake and glycosylation of smoke-derived volatile phenols by Cabernet sauvignon grapes and their subsequent fate during winemaking. Molecules, 25, 3270, DOI 10.3390/molecules25163720


Project leader

Kerry Wilkinson
University of Adelaide


Colleen Szeto
(PhD Student)
University of Adelaide

Other investigators

Nick Dokoozlian
E. & J. Gallo

Vinay Pagay
University of Adelaide

Industry partners

The Australian Wine Research InstituteE. & J. Gallo Winery

Latest News

Macrowine Conference – Isara Vongluanngam

Macrowine Conference – Isara Vongluanngam

By Isara Vongluanngam Every two years, wine researchers from around the world come together to exchange their latest findings and knowledge at OenoMacrowine conference. This renowned international congress focuses on macromolecules and secondary Metabolites of vine...

read more
Andres Experience at Terclim 2022 | Bordeaux, France

Andres Experience at Terclim 2022 | Bordeaux, France

By Andres Zhou Tsang     I am sure many of the ARC Training Centre Members have very fond memories of the 13th International Terroir Congress, taking place in Adelaide back in 2020, which connected grape and wine scientists and industry leaders from all over...

read more