Smoke taint 2020...

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GregP
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#101 Post by GregP » August 27th, 2020, 7:01 pm

Drove through Petaluma on the way to RRV, smelled smoke, and one could actually see a thin layer of smoke. We looked at each other, resigned for the worst. Reached Santa Rosa, by then smoke in the air was not "detectable", and certainly not when in the vineyard. Picked up samples, looked at he sky, blue. The air felt "damp/wet", but no smokey in any way. Not an indication of anything, still need to test. Drove through Laguna Road, Olivet Lane, River Road, up to Windsor. Still no smoke, and certainly not when compared to Sacramento area for the past week (first time we saw blue sky since Tue last week, it also snowed ash for 2 days last week, and very heavy smoke in the air for days). Clean air today is still no indication of how it was 3-5 days before. But, as Russian saying goes, Hope dies last.

Then drove to ETS. Once we reached Calistoga we smelled a touch of smoke in the air. Not a lot, but still. Driving South to St. Helena the air cleared up.

ETS had non-stop traffic, with most of the samples being the "test for smoke taint" variety. 10 days turnaround as of early afternoon today, and getting worse. They are swamped.

Started a small ferment today while awaiting ETS results.

The only good news is with the temps cooling down, a lot, where the vineyard is in RRV, dropping to 50F last night, sugars only moved up about 1 since Tuesday last week, 18.5 to 21 depending on block/clone/root stock. If weather holds looks like 3 weeks to pick, pretty much normal for the vineyard. So, waiting for the ferment to take off right now, and eventually, an ETS result.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#102 Post by Casey Hartlip » August 28th, 2020, 5:59 pm

Wow crickets on the ETS results! Certainly by now folks must have some results? Had a machine harvest contractor visit today (while we had 2 big picks going on)) and he said most of the north coast is on hold waiting for results. He said some SB was already 26 brix waiting for someone to make a decision. I can only assume ETS is working 24/7 trying to make this happen? Today we had a great morning picking Pinot for rose' and then some clone 76 chardonnay for a client. Will wineries completely pass on the 2020 vintage? Many won't survive right? So I ask again......ETS news?
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#103 Post by Casey Hartlip » August 30th, 2020, 5:43 am

Bumping.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#104 Post by Adam Lee » August 30th, 2020, 6:07 am

Casey Hartlip wrote:
August 28th, 2020, 5:59 pm
Wow crickets on the ETS results! Certainly by now folks must have some results? Had a machine harvest contractor visit today (while we had 2 big picks going on)) and he said most of the north coast is on hold waiting for results. He said some SB was already 26 brix waiting for someone to make a decision. I can only assume ETS is working 24/7 trying to make this happen? Today we had a great morning picking Pinot for rose' and then some clone 76 chardonnay for a client. Will wineries completely pass on the 2020 vintage? Many won't survive right? So I ask again......ETS news?
Apparently, ETS has approximately 4000 grapes samples backlogged with the ability to process about 235 a day working 24/7. Results are now taking anyplace between 18 days and 1 month.

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#105 Post by GregP » August 30th, 2020, 12:10 pm

I observed just one person conducting smoke taint tests, this past Thursday. Confirming my guess on Monday that ETS will not purchase a bunch of blenders (food type, to pulverize berries) and hire extra people to process smoke taint backlog in a more timely manner. Guessing just a few tests per hour, at best, as things stand. Just wish they weren't the only game in town.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#106 Post by mmalpiede » August 31st, 2020, 9:08 am

I hope it's ok to post this link here. This is from Jake Bilbro as a guest blogger on Blake Gray's site. Jake is a thoughtful, smart man and his love of the wine industry and his personal generosity is seemingly endless. He gives a great perspective from the side of the industry. I agree with Jake here. Please don't write off an entire region for a vintage until we know a lot more. There will be great wines made from Sonoma and Napa in 2020. Some selectivity will be important of course, but the top tier wineries will not release wines that they aren't 100% proud of.

https://blog.wblakegray.com/2020/08/gue ... ntage.html
Cheers,

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#107 Post by Jeff_M. » August 31st, 2020, 9:21 am

mmalpiede wrote:
August 31st, 2020, 9:08 am
I hope it's ok to post this link here. This is from Jake Bilbro as a guest blogger on Blake Gray's site. Jake is a thoughtful, smart man and his love of the wine industry and his personal generosity is seemingly endless. He gives a great perspective from the side of the industry. I agree with Jake here. Please don't write off an entire region for a vintage until we know a lot more. There will be great wines made from Sonoma and Napa in 2020. Some selectivity will be important of course, but the top tier wineries will not release wines that they aren't 100% proud of.

https://blog.wblakegray.com/2020/08/gue ... ntage.html
I agree with your post. I hope that wineries will make good decisions on any fruit that has smoke taint.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#108 Post by larry schaffer » August 31st, 2020, 10:07 am

I would think ETS would work to speed things up as well - the industry deserves it if at all possible . . .

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#109 Post by Eric Lundblad » August 31st, 2020, 11:42 am

Course, Enartis/Vinquiry got out of the testing business earlier this year. ETS took over their business & clients. I'd be surprised if they expanded very much...seems likely they'd assume less business due to the pandemic and it's effect on the wine economy. So it seems likely that we lost a fair bit of wine testing capacity...making the smoke issue worse. At 3-4 week turnaround for smoke taint tests, it's hardly worth doing it, esp compared to doing small trial ferments and judging the results.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#110 Post by larry schaffer » August 31st, 2020, 11:45 am

The challenge, unfortunately, is that a test ferment may not show what happens in the long run . . .

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#111 Post by MarlonL » August 31st, 2020, 11:56 am

mmalpiede wrote:
August 31st, 2020, 9:08 am
I hope it's ok to post this link here. This is from Jake Bilbro as a guest blogger on Blake Gray's site. Jake is a thoughtful, smart man and his love of the wine industry and his personal generosity is seemingly endless. He gives a great perspective from the side of the industry. I agree with Jake here. Please don't write off an entire region for a vintage until we know a lot more. There will be great wines made from Sonoma and Napa in 2020. Some selectivity will be important of course, but the top tier wineries will not release wines that they aren't 100% proud of.

https://blog.wblakegray.com/2020/08/gue ... ntage.html
Thanks for the post.

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#112 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » August 31st, 2020, 4:31 pm

Eric Lundblad wrote:
August 31st, 2020, 11:42 am
Course, Enartis/Vinquiry got out of the testing business earlier this year. ETS took over their business & clients. I'd be surprised if they expanded very much...seems likely they'd assume less business due to the pandemic and it's effect on the wine economy. So it seems likely that we lost a fair bit of wine testing capacity...making the smoke issue worse. At 3-4 week turnaround for smoke taint tests, it's hardly worth doing it, esp compared to doing small trial ferments and judging the results.
What horrible timing for that change. I’m sorry for all of the extra un-needed stress that is, and I really hope that all of you catch a break. It certainly seems like you’re due.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#113 Post by Al Osterheld » August 31st, 2020, 4:32 pm

I'm pretty sure a test ferment will show the smoke if it's present. It's not particularly quantitative, of course, but lots of aspects of wine making are not. Others can chime in, but I don't recall anyone who had it suddenly show up later. There were a lot of people who tried various things to remove it, thought they had been successful, then it showed up again when the some of the smoke that was loosely bound in glycosides became unbound. But, in the cases I know, those producers all knew it was there.

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#114 Post by GregP » August 31st, 2020, 5:04 pm

Another update. Spoke with ETS early this morning. The grapes sample we submitted last Thursday, in person, was a supposed 10 day turnaround, and I did ask a few times to confirm. Had a long conversation while there. As of this morning was told that even that sample is now at least 3 weeks waiting time. Meaning its useless and a waste. But a nice way for ETS to drum up business, of course. Had I been told "3 weeks" I'd never leave the sample, by then I expect us to pick, or not.

Small ferment I have going took off, native yeast, seems very robust so far, percolating nicely with a great color extraction. Was told this morning that if we submit this wine sample (once dry), then its the usual 1-2 days turnaround, so far no change in that. Planning on doing that, though now anxiously awaiting getting to dryness with timing an issue, still. Wish ETS would have been more forward with actual waiting times, their "10 days" for results was an obvious, hmmmm, misrepresentation, to put it mildly. Anyone expecting results any time soon, consider submission of dry ferment, or none at all. Unless you pick early October or beyond. And even then I would not trust ETS with their time estimates at this point. Fool me once, and all that...

I'll certainly have a discussion with them about the "10 days" BS.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#115 Post by timmy roos » August 31st, 2020, 5:26 pm

Tough thing is picking choices are being made and documentation for insurance
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#116 Post by rgallagher » September 1st, 2020, 12:34 pm

Sad news from Neal Family Vineyards:

Hello Everyone,

The year 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. My family and I hope you are all doing well, despite this unique situation.

As you likely know, fires have swept thru most of California and our beloved Napa. They have yet to be contained, and it's a challenging time for many. I'm writing to let you know that our family is safe, and our winery, vineyards, and home are all intact. However, due to the extreme smoke damage to our grapes, I have decided not to move forward with our 2020 harvest.

This is not the first time Mother Nature hasn't allowed me to produce wine up to my expectations, and I'm sure it won't be the last. I have high standards when it comes to creating the wines you all love and if anything comes in the way - be it fires (which produces smoke taint in the grapes), drought, frost, poor pollination, etc. - I'll be the first one to walk away from harvest.

Please take a moment to view this video I just shot in our vineyard. It will give you more insight into current conditions and give you a bit of history about what we've dealt with in the past. And, if you'd like to read more about smoke taint, please click here.

I'll be back in touch soon to share a virtual tasting I'll lead in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions - I love to hear from you.

I wish all of you health, safety, and happiness.

Warmest Regards,

Mark Neal, Owner
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r y a n

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#117 Post by Jeff_M. » September 1st, 2020, 12:44 pm

rgallagher wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 12:34 pm
Sad news from Neal Family Vineyards:

Hello Everyone,

The year 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. My family and I hope you are all doing well, despite this unique situation.

As you likely know, fires have swept thru most of California and our beloved Napa. They have yet to be contained, and it's a challenging time for many. I'm writing to let you know that our family is safe, and our winery, vineyards, and home are all intact. However, due to the extreme smoke damage to our grapes, I have decided not to move forward with our 2020 harvest.

This is not the first time Mother Nature hasn't allowed me to produce wine up to my expectations, and I'm sure it won't be the last. I have high standards when it comes to creating the wines you all love and if anything comes in the way - be it fires (which produces smoke taint in the grapes), drought, frost, poor pollination, etc. - I'll be the first one to walk away from harvest.

Please take a moment to view this video I just shot in our vineyard. It will give you more insight into current conditions and give you a bit of history about what we've dealt with in the past. And, if you'd like to read more about smoke taint, please click here.

I'll be back in touch soon to share a virtual tasting I'll lead in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions - I love to hear from you.

I wish all of you health, safety, and happiness.

Warmest Regards,

Mark Neal, Owner
Neal Family Vineyards
Just read this. Awful news

He posted a YouTube video as well:
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#118 Post by Adam Lee » September 2nd, 2020, 8:31 am

On the ETS Website now:

"Turnaround Times for Smoke Impact Testing

We are currently reporting from the pool of grape berry smoke impact samples received on 25 August.

Grape berry samples received early today are projected to be reportable by 27 September, and wine samples received early today are projected to be reportable by 5 September. Turnaround times will improve as we work our way through the initial surge of samples. Projected reporting dates for samples received later in the day will depend upon the number of samples received.

We have shifted most of our GC/MS (gas chromatography mass spectroscopy) and GC MS/MS QQQ (triple quad) capacity to analysis of smoke related markers, and the instruments are running 7 days a week and 24 hours per day. Even with this dedication of resources, the number of samples coming in still currently far exceeds the number that we can report.

While we all wish that there were options to improve turnaround, the reality is that no other analytical facility, anywhere, has the smoke impact specific combination of experience and massive pool of analytical resources to employ. We are working with other labs to enable them to provide additional capacity, but that will not happen during the current smoke event."

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#119 Post by Keith_B » September 2nd, 2020, 11:31 am

Roy Piper sent out an email today with a link to a highly educational and very well done video on the topic.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#120 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 2nd, 2020, 1:56 pm

Word is wineries are sending interns home because they think many won't crush any fruit.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#121 Post by larry schaffer » September 2nd, 2020, 2:00 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 1:56 pm
Word is wineries are sending interns home because they think many won't crush any fruit.
Where are we talking Throughout Sonoma? Anderson Valley? Specifics?

Yikes . . .
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#122 Post by MarlonL » September 2nd, 2020, 2:04 pm

I hope this is not a sign of years to come.

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#123 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » September 2nd, 2020, 2:09 pm

Adam Lee wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 8:31 am
On the ETS Website now:

"Turnaround Times for Smoke Impact Testing

We are currently reporting from the pool of grape berry smoke impact samples received on 25 August.

Grape berry samples received early today are projected to be reportable by 27 September, and wine samples received early today are projected to be reportable by 5 September. Turnaround times will improve as we work our way through the initial surge of samples. Projected reporting dates for samples received later in the day will depend upon the number of samples received.

We have shifted most of our GC/MS (gas chromatography mass spectroscopy) and GC MS/MS QQQ (triple quad) capacity to analysis of smoke related markers, and the instruments are running 7 days a week and 24 hours per day. Even with this dedication of resources, the number of samples coming in still currently far exceeds the number that we can report.

While we all wish that there were options to improve turnaround, the reality is that no other analytical facility, anywhere, has the smoke impact specific combination of experience and massive pool of analytical resources to employ. We are working with other labs to enable them to provide additional capacity, but that will not happen during the current smoke event."
My sympathies Adam. I know that you make a little WV fruit, and I hope you are able to supplement that. In general, we have a small fruit set up here, but there has been some fruit available.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#124 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 2nd, 2020, 5:42 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 2:00 pm
Casey Hartlip wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 1:56 pm
Word is wineries are sending interns home because they think many won't crush any fruit.
Where are we talking Throughout Sonoma? Anderson Valley? Specifics?

Yikes . . .
Just scuttlebutt I've heard. IMHO Potter Valley, Redwood Valley and Hopland in Mendo are likely toast. RRV and Dry Creek likely gone. Napa, especially mountain sites must be screwed. It's possible RRV won't pick any Pinot. What a historic tragedy.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#125 Post by GregP » September 2nd, 2020, 5:48 pm

Had a long phone call with Gordon Burns earlier today, they have shifted gears to process more tests, and are also talking to Australians to get as much info as is possible. At the least, they are now trying to keep us all informed in regard to expected dates for grape and wine samples, that is a great step since I, for one, was receiving contradicting info depending on who I was asking (front desk, lab tech, etc.). This has seemingly been improved. They also shifted some other techs to smoke taint testing, but I guess that led to wine sample testing to slow down as well. Win some, loose some.

One subject that came up is what I have heard from horse's mouth yesterday, so to speak (vineyard manager in Sonoma's Western regions), as we all as others today: some wineries are declining fruit even without running tests/ferments. Have no idea how that is fair to growers, its one thing IF fruit has been confirmed tainted, its another to simply walk away. So, not only regions mentioned by Casey, but RRV/Sebastopol/Green Valley as well. Haven't heard about West Sonoma Coast.

I am awaiting a grape sample test, submitted to ETS last Thursday, was told I should expect results on Sept. 11. I also have a micro ferment going, Day 6 now. Looking great so far, we cannot pick up any off flavors at this point, juice is nice and dark. Will have another palate I trust give it a test tomorrow, and hope its fully dry come weekend or so, will submit a wine sample to ETS (to complement the grape sample already submitted). Will check on sugars tomorrow and pick more fruit to start another micro ferment, the more the better at this point. Will only pick fruit if we are convinced we should. With the weather holding I don't think we'll pick until mid Sept, so both ETS tests as well as 2 micro ferments should be all finished by then to give us data to make the decision.

This is from a vineyard in Laguna Ridge area of RRV, for reference. Saw no smoke, smelled no smoke last week when picking up sample for ETS. Doesn't mean much until all the tests are run, of course.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#126 Post by Adam Lee » September 2nd, 2020, 8:18 pm

I am doing a Zoom tasting/discussion tomorrow talking about this vintage - if anyone wants to join. 4pm Pacific Time.

Thursday, September 3, 2020
4pm Pacific Time

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81692231509?p ... N6MSt3Zz09

Meeting ID: 816 9223 1509
Password: 262837

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#127 Post by Mike Evans » September 3rd, 2020, 6:06 am

Could it be worth sending samples by overnight delivery to Australia for testing?

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#128 Post by timmy roos » September 3rd, 2020, 9:18 am

There are wineries shipping to labs in Australia. We are waiting on results from there as well. I had conversation with rep yesterday basically Saying they plan on taking no fruit from lake and named some areas of Mendocino(which I won’t repeat because I don’t want to misquote him) without clean test.
We are really effed with our chard because basically by the time we get results they will be past prime
Essentially the tests are just documentation for insurance. I think at this point I am hoping for positive test for chard
Things are getting funny these day

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#129 Post by Wes Barton » September 3rd, 2020, 11:35 am

Mike Evans wrote:
September 3rd, 2020, 6:06 am
Could it be worth sending samples by overnight delivery to Australia for testing?
I was privy to a discussion related to that - between people who'd interned there and friends of theirs there - as they were starting to set that up. Nope. Covid restrictions or something. No grapes or must, just completed wines can be shipped to AU for testing.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#130 Post by Tom DeBiase » September 3rd, 2020, 11:48 am

GregP wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 5:48 pm
Had a long phone call with Gordon Burns earlier today, they have shifted gears to process more tests, and are also talking to Australians to get as much info as is possible. At the least, they are now trying to keep us all informed in regard to expected dates for grape and wine samples, that is a great step since I, for one, was receiving contradicting info depending on who I was asking (front desk, lab tech, etc.). This has seemingly been improved. They also shifted some other techs to smoke taint testing, but I guess that led to wine sample testing to slow down as well. Win some, loose some.

One subject that came up is what I have heard from horse's mouth yesterday, so to speak (vineyard manager in Sonoma's Western regions), as we all as others today: some wineries are declining fruit even without running tests/ferments. Have no idea how that is fair to growers, its one thing IF fruit has been confirmed tainted, its another to simply walk away. So, not only regions mentioned by Casey, but RRV/Sebastopol/Green Valley as well. Haven't heard about West Sonoma Coast.

I am awaiting a grape sample test, submitted to ETS last Thursday, was told I should expect results on Sept. 11. I also have a micro ferment going, Day 6 now. Looking great so far, we cannot pick up any off flavors at this point, juice is nice and dark. Will have another palate I trust give it a test tomorrow, and hope its fully dry come weekend or so, will submit a wine sample to ETS (to complement the grape sample already submitted). Will check on sugars tomorrow and pick more fruit to start another micro ferment, the more the better at this point. Will only pick fruit if we are convinced we should. With the weather holding I don't think we'll pick until mid Sept, so both ETS tests as well as 2 micro ferments should be all finished by then to give us data to make the decision.

This is from a vineyard in Laguna Ridge area of RRV, for reference. Saw no smoke, smelled no smoke last week when picking up sample for ETS. Doesn't mean much until all the tests are run, of course.
Good luck Greg, it can be unnerving not knowing results. No matter what the reading is (unless it is off the charts high) be sure to have an acute taster (you or someone else) who can taste through samples in an area free of odors. The human senses can ultimately detect odors better than GC analysis. That doesn't mean the finished product is bad or that the mass population would detect but it just gives you more information to make your decisions.

Fingers crossed for you and other winemakers.

Tom

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#131 Post by larry schaffer » September 3rd, 2020, 12:11 pm

First off, you would think ETS could contract with others to do testings. This seems ridiculous to me that turnaround times are as long as they are.

Second, i know winemakers who are quite trepidatious after 2008 - lots that smelled fine all thru ferments and some aging only to show taint at blending trials down the line. Sucks.

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#132 Post by Fred Scherrer » September 3rd, 2020, 4:13 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 5:42 pm
larry schaffer wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 2:00 pm
Casey Hartlip wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 1:56 pm
Word is wineries are sending interns home because they think many won't crush any fruit.
Where are we talking Throughout Sonoma? Anderson Valley? Specifics?

Yikes . . .
Just scuttlebutt I've heard. IMHO Potter Valley, Redwood Valley and Hopland in Mendo are likely toast. RRV and Dry Creek likely gone. Napa, especially mountain sites must be screwed. It's possible RRV won't pick any Pinot. What a historic tragedy.
My winery is in Green Valley of RRV. Home is south of there. My family's vineyard is in SE Alexander Valley. I can tell you that from regularly driving back and forth between all these places there are SIGNIFICANT differences in where the smoke has gone, persisted etc. during this event.

It's impossible that RRV won't pick any PN this year because I have already. I am cautiously optimistic, having dealt with some severely affected 2008 PN from the coast that was in the crosshairs of the fire that summer.

I will not throw certain AVA's or neighborhoods under the bus by saying where I happen to see fresh smoke settled in. But I guarantee there will be significant variation in the outcome site to site within many AVAs.

F

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#133 Post by larry schaffer » September 3rd, 2020, 4:39 pm

Wishing you the best of luck this harvest, Fred - and that goes to all qineries and vineyards out there. Here's hoping things turn out better than some expect.

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#134 Post by GregP » September 4th, 2020, 12:01 am

Dropped off a wine sample at ETS earlier today and, well, its now 11 days test result turnaround even for wine. I stood there for a few minutes contemplating if its even worth it what with fruit ripening and a short heat spike of sorts coming up this weekend (though supposedly not reaching 90F in RRV). But, in the end, we owe it to the growers to do the right thing and follow all leads we can. Submitted the sample, have one grape sample now (Aug. 27) with results supposedly expected on Sept. 11, and this just submitted micro ferment to be a couple of days later IF turnaround window holds.

Had a couple of other palates smell the first micro ferment today, the one we submitted. No one picks up anything off, so far, just the usual primary fermentation smells. Started another micro ferment with fruit picked up earlier today. One more data point to have.

What really amazed me is the sheer number of GRAPE samples still being submitted. ETS now says results for grape samples are to be expected Oct. 11. And I think that's optimistic. They seem to be stuck on August 25th submissions for the past 3 days now, and we're talking about thousands since.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#135 Post by Karen Troisi » September 4th, 2020, 8:02 am

GregP wrote:
September 4th, 2020, 12:01 am
Dropped off a wine sample at ETS earlier today and, well, its now 11 days test result turnaround even for wine. I stood there for a few minutes contemplating if its even worth it what with fruit ripening and a short heat spike of sorts coming up this weekend (though supposedly not reaching 90F in RRV). But, in the end, we owe it to the growers to do the right thing and follow all leads we can. Submitted the sample, have one grape sample now (Aug. 27) with results supposedly expected on Sept. 11, and this just submitted micro ferment to be a couple of days later IF turnaround window holds.

Had a couple of other palates smell the first micro ferment today, the one we submitted. No one picks up anything off, so far, just the usual primary fermentation smells. Started another micro ferment with fruit picked up earlier today. One more data point to have.

What really amazed me is the sheer number of GRAPE samples still being submitted. ETS now says results for grape samples are to be expected Oct. 11. And I think that's optimistic. They seem to be stuck on August 25th submissions for the past 3 days now, and we're talking about thousands since.
I have a list of additional labs doing testing and their fees - DM me if you need info.

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#136 Post by larry schaffer » September 4th, 2020, 8:04 am

Karen,

Interesting to see. I'm sure many would love this potential list - same testing protocols?

Cheers.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#137 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 4th, 2020, 7:02 pm

I heard today of some RRV fruit testing positive for smoke
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#138 Post by Fred Scherrer » September 5th, 2020, 8:46 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
September 4th, 2020, 7:02 pm
I heard today of some RRV fruit testing positive for smoke
I don't doubt that at all. It's a big AVA with many pockets. It spans from Dry Creek Vly AVA at Healdsburg to quite a ways south of Sebastopol, for one thing. It runs from west of Sebastopol to the northeast corner of Santa Rosa at Chalk Hill AVA as another.

Alexander Valley is another AVA with quite a span...from Cloverdale at the north end to the south where Chalk Hill AVA starts. There are canyons to the east end of the valley that can suck air from the valley to the west up to the geysers on the east. air flow is complicated here.

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#139 Post by GregP » September 5th, 2020, 10:33 pm

Fred Scherrer wrote:
September 5th, 2020, 8:46 pm
I don't doubt that at all. It's a big AVA with many pockets. It spans from Dry Creek Vly AVA at Healdsburg to quite a ways south of Sebastopol, for one thing. It runs from west of Sebastopol to the northeast corner of Santa Rosa at Chalk Hill AVA as another.
I said as much above, guess some have an agenda.

One of my micro ferments smells clean (from 2 Thursdays ago), with nothing seemingly off to a number of palates. Another going right now to be sure, will know probably by Thu/Fri. As well as ETS samples.Until then writing off everything in RRV is just not right.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#140 Post by Brian Tuite » September 6th, 2020, 6:08 am

GregP wrote:
August 27th, 2020, 7:01 pm
Drove through Petaluma on the way to RRV, smelled smoke, and one could actually see a thin layer of smoke. We looked at each other, resigned for the worst. Reached Santa Rosa, by then smoke in the air was not "detectable", and certainly not when in the vineyard. Picked up samples, looked at he sky, blue. The air felt "damp/wet", but no smokey in any way. Not an indication of anything, still need to test. Drove through Laguna Road, Olivet Lane, River Road, up to Windsor. Still no smoke, and certainly not when compared to Sacramento area for the past week (first time we saw blue sky since Tue last week, it also snowed ash for 2 days last week, and very heavy smoke in the air for days). Clean air today is still no indication of how it was 3-5 days before. But, as Russian saying goes, Hope dies last.

Then drove to ETS. Once we reached Calistoga we smelled a touch of smoke in the air. Not a lot, but still. Driving South to St. Helena the air cleared up.

ETS had non-stop traffic, with most of the samples being the "test for smoke taint" variety. 10 days turnaround as of early afternoon today, and getting worse. They are swamped.

Started a small ferment today while awaiting ETS results.

The only good news is with the temps cooling down, a lot, where the vineyard is in RRV, dropping to 50F last night, sugars only moved up about 1 since Tuesday last week, 18.5 to 21 depending on block/clone/root stock. If weather holds looks like 3 weeks to pick, pretty much normal for the vineyard. So, waiting for the ferment to take off right now, and eventually, an ETS result.
We you’ve been kinda lucky since the air has generally been clear in the Santa Rosa Plain and RRV all week. The smoke you smelled in Petaluma was from the Mendocino fires and has been traveling Southerly offshore then coming onshore through the Bodega wind gap.

During the Walbridge Fire the smoke was chokingly thick for Over a week straight. Yesterday I was cleaning ash off my property and it was pretty gross.

On the bad side it was 104° Saturday and it’s expected to hit 107° or higher today and again triple digits Monday and possibly Tuesday. With the way they open the canopies on Pinot it’s going to be a rough stretch. I imagine they are turning up the irrigation. I assume you’re looking at different fruit at 21° because I’ve seen Pinot being pulled already in pretty large quantities.

Napa Valley is 110°+ yesterday, today and Monday with 100° Tuesday making 6 straight over 100.

I was at Limerick Lane Monday picking up some wine and I could see raisins already on exposed clusters. It’ll be interesting to see how things develop over the coming week.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#141 Post by lleichtman » September 6th, 2020, 8:58 am

MarlonL wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 2:04 pm
I hope this is not a sign of years to come.
Considering that the bulk of CA will have temps of 110º plus over the next several days, I'm afraid this is a portent of things to come.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#142 Post by GregP » September 6th, 2020, 12:34 pm

Brian Tuite wrote:
September 6th, 2020, 6:08 am
We you’ve been kinda lucky since the air has generally been clear in the Santa Rosa Plain and RRV all week. The smoke you smelled in Petaluma was from the Mendocino fires and has been traveling Southerly offshore then coming onshore through the Bodega wind gap.

During the Walbridge Fire the smoke was chokingly thick for Over a week straight. Yesterday I was cleaning ash off my property and it was pretty gross.

On the bad side it was 104° Saturday and it’s expected to hit 107° or higher today and again triple digits Monday and possibly Tuesday. With the way they open the canopies on Pinot it’s going to be a rough stretch. I imagine they are turning up the irrigation. I assume you’re looking at different fruit at 21° because I’ve seen Pinot being pulled already in pretty large quantities.

Napa Valley is 110°+ yesterday, today and Monday with 100° Tuesday making 6 straight over 100.

I was at Limerick Lane Monday picking up some wine and I could see raisins already on exposed clusters. It’ll be interesting to see how things develop over the coming week.
Brian, not arguing, and we were very surprised to smell very clean air once in the vineyard. That Petaluma smokey air (on Aug.27) was not there this past Thursday, we drove through same route to take notes and compare. The sample we submitted on Aug. 27 was in reaction to smoke from Walbridge fire, of course. And we had plenty of ash snowing down for 2 days in Sac area, maybe not as much as you guys did, but it did look like snow coming down, Vacaville hills look parched for miles. Its VERY smokey today in Sac area, massive Sierra fire, and we're a LONG distance from that.

Temps wise, I usually check more precise ones via WunderMap, and Laguna Ridge never reached the highs you mention, thus slower ripeness curve. Sugars this past Thursday (for another micro ferment) checked a bit higher, of course, but so far nothing to panic about, one clone checked in at 22.75, others were lower. Though I do expect sugars to shoot up this weekend, but then maybe wait a few days to see them level off. Close, but not picking until we get at least one test from ETS (Sept. 11), and hope its low enough to pick, of course. First micro ferment smells very clean. Second one, Day 4 now, is percolating nicely, and I will have others give it a smell test (same as we did with first one). We'll do our part as long as we can hold, not rejecting fruit simply because (as some seem to be doing from what I hear).

And speaking of ETS. Even after a long discussion with ETS president this past week and how they completely mismanaged expected dates, was told all personnel are now trained to give an accurate estimate given the steady and ever increasing stream of test submissions for smoke taint. This conversation took place this past Tuesday. Then on Thursday we then drove in to submit another sample, this time a micro ferment wine sample. Were told its 11 days (see my post above). Took back the sample and walked out, 11 days is not a good time frame, at least for us. After a few minutes of deliberations we decided to submit the sample, after all, in hopes that we can let the fruit hang long enough.

Well, guess what ETS web site now says, that "11 days" is yet again a wildly missed turnaround estimate (3+ plus weeks, at the least). I do understand this whole scenario is not ETS's fault, but so greatly to mislead customers is just not a good idea going forward. Even after being assured by the head of the company they will be much more accurate and way more up front with customers, just 2 days earlier. How is "11 days" equal to now 3+ WEEKS? In what universe? And make a claim, in a phone conversation with customer, when its obvious its nothing but an empty claim as it turns out. Looks like they didn't fix anything, at all. Even that Aug. 27 grape sample, promised to be done in 10 days, and then re-scheduled for Sept. 11, is now up in the air from where I stand. Seriously doubt they will deliver, so far wildly missing on 2 promised delivery dates. As of today site says Aug. 25 and early Aug. 26 for grape samples being worked on, with the Aug. 25 date posted for the past 5 days, at the least. Giving a very bad reference point (ETA wise) for rest of samples, and with results for most on the Sonoma side most likely coming back way too late.

Will call another lab in the morning to see if they can do a quick(er) turnaround, even if its a 4 hours one way trip for me, ETS Labs is just not the solution at this point if you work with earlier ripening fruit. Hoping some other lab can step in and do it right going forward, plenty of business to be had in years to come.

As much as I do not agree with some wineries turning down fruit without tests, after my own personal interactions with ETS and their utter failure to communicate and process tests in a timely manner I am beginning to understand why some smaller guys simply say No to fruit. Way too much uncertainty to be betting so much money on a guess. Hoping against hope that ETS will keep their promise in regard to at least the Aug. 27 grape sample we submitted and we get results on Sept. 11, the "new target date" as told to me, beyond that we may reluctantly join the ranks and simply make the decision to not pick, where ever that leads eventually. Love Port and PX, but not making any.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#143 Post by Brian Tuite » September 6th, 2020, 3:12 pm

GregP wrote:
September 6th, 2020, 12:34 pm
Brian Tuite wrote:
September 6th, 2020, 6:08 am
We you’ve been kinda lucky since the air has generally been clear in the Santa Rosa Plain and RRV all week. The smoke you smelled in Petaluma was from the Mendocino fires and has been traveling Southerly offshore then coming onshore through the Bodega wind gap.

During the Walbridge Fire the smoke was chokingly thick for Over a week straight. Yesterday I was cleaning ash off my property and it was pretty gross.

On the bad side it was 104° Saturday and it’s expected to hit 107° or higher today and again triple digits Monday and possibly Tuesday. With the way they open the canopies on Pinot it’s going to be a rough stretch. I imagine they are turning up the irrigation. I assume you’re looking at different fruit at 21° because I’ve seen Pinot being pulled already in pretty large quantities.

Napa Valley is 110°+ yesterday, today and Monday with 100° Tuesday making 6 straight over 100.

I was at Limerick Lane Monday picking up some wine and I could see raisins already on exposed clusters. It’ll be interesting to see how things develop over the coming week.
Brian, not arguing, and we were very surprised to smell very clean air once in the vineyard. That Petaluma smokey air (on Aug.27) was not there this past Thursday, we drove through same route to take notes and compare. The sample we submitted on Aug. 27 was in reaction to smoke from Walbridge fire, of course. And we had plenty of ash snowing down for 2 days in Sac area, maybe not as much as you guys did, but it did look like snow coming down, Vacaville hills look parched for miles. Its VERY smokey today in Sac area, massive Sierra fire, and we're a LONG distance from that.

Temps wise, I usually check more precise ones via WunderMap, and Laguna Ridge never reached the highs you mention, thus slower ripeness curve. Sugars this past Thursday (for another micro ferment) checked a bit higher, of course, but so far nothing to panic about, one clone checked in at 22.75, others were lower. Though I do expect sugars to shoot up this weekend, but then maybe wait a few days to see them level off. Close, but not picking until we get at least one test from ETS (Sept. 11), and hope its low enough to pick, of course. First micro ferment smells very clean. Second one, Day 4 now, is percolating nicely, and I will have others give it a smell test (same as we did with first one). We'll do our part as long as we can hold, not rejecting fruit simply because (as some seem to be doing from what I hear).

And speaking of ETS. Even after a long discussion with ETS president this past week and how they completely mismanaged expected dates, was told all personnel are now trained to give an accurate estimate given the steady and ever increasing stream of test submissions for smoke taint. This conversation took place this past Tuesday. Then on Thursday we then drove in to submit another sample, this time a micro ferment wine sample. Were told its 11 days (see my post above). Took back the sample and walked out, 11 days is not a good time frame, at least for us. After a few minutes of deliberations we decided to submit the sample, after all, in hopes that we can let the fruit hang long enough.

Well, guess what ETS web site now says, that "11 days" is yet again a wildly missed turnaround estimate (3+ plus weeks, at the least). I do understand this whole scenario is not ETS's fault, but so greatly to mislead customers is just not a good idea going forward. Even after being assured by the head of the company they will be much more accurate and way more up front with customers, just 2 days earlier. How is "11 days" equal to now 3+ WEEKS? In what universe? And make a claim, in a phone conversation with customer, when its obvious its nothing but an empty claim as it turns out. Looks like they didn't fix anything, at all. Even that Aug. 27 grape sample, promised to be done in 10 days, and then re-scheduled for Sept. 11, is now up in the air from where I stand. Seriously doubt they will deliver, so far wildly missing on 2 promised delivery dates. As of today site says Aug. 25 and early Aug. 26 for grape samples being worked on, with the Aug. 25 date posted for the past 5 days, at the least. Giving a very bad reference point (ETA wise) for rest of samples, and with results for most on the Sonoma side most likely coming back way too late.

Will call another lab in the morning to see if they can do a quick(er) turnaround, even if its a 4 hours one way trip for me, ETS Labs is just not the solution at this point if you work with earlier ripening fruit. Hoping some other lab can step in and do it right going forward, plenty of business to be had in years to come.

As much as I do not agree with some wineries turning down fruit without tests, after my own personal interactions with ETS and their utter failure to communicate and process tests in a timely manner I am beginning to understand why some smaller guys simply say No to fruit. Way too much uncertainty to be betting so much money on a guess. Hoping against hope that ETS will keep their promise in regard to at least the Aug. 27 grape sample we submitted and we get results on Sept. 11, the "new target date" as told to me, beyond that we may reluctantly join the ranks and simply make the decision to not pick, where ever that leads eventually. Love Port and PX, but not making any.
Today it’s 111° in Forestville, Laguna Ridge 111°, while Petaluma and Santa Rosa hit 109°. Pray for fog but it’s not coming anytime soon.
CC01C477-9C41-493D-A02A-18F0B0AB5B85.jpeg
Read it and weep.

This one is about a 3 iron from me.
A6175A08-016D-4D29-A99C-C179A9D5CC7B.jpeg

Technically you’re right but 103.9 is pretty dang close.
81B829E9-18CB-454C-8CBC-E3D0E06375E7.png
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#144 Post by GregP » September 6th, 2020, 3:50 pm

TODAY. Though temps in Laguna Ridge have been manageable up to this point, and it is another day or two of this before a cool down (and sugars stabilizing). I keep track of temps for the past 3 weeks, multiple times per day. Some nights were 50-51F, and most were in low to mid 50s, which you seem to ignore.

Sugars is not a worry, one can deal with that one way or another. Smoke taint is, main issue to be worried about right now. And as I pointed out, what with ETS mismanaging their time frames and client expectations, this heat spike may force even more people to simply walk away and not pick when ETS results are, way, WAY too late, and getting worse, and decisions must be made.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#145 Post by Tom DeBiase » September 6th, 2020, 4:12 pm

GregP wrote:
September 6th, 2020, 3:50 pm
TODAY. Though temps in Laguna Ridge have been manageable up to this point, and it is another day or two of this before a cool down (and sugars stabilizing). I keep track of temps for the past 3 weeks, multiple times per day. Some nights were 50-51F, and most were in low to mid 50s, which you seem to ignore.

Sugars is not a worry, one can deal with that one way or another. Smoke taint is, main issue to be worried about right now. And as I pointed out, what with ETS mismanaging their time frames and client expectations, this heat spike may force even more people to simply walk away and not pick when ETS results are, way, WAY too late, and getting worse, and decisions must be made.
Greg, do you have a specific ETS reading in mind vs the flavor of test ferments. Is a poor ETS reading with no smoke flavor indicative of not taking a chance the smoke will turn up in storage.

Curious what will be your deciding factor in going forward or not.

Hope all goes well with both tests and flavor.

Tom

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#146 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 6th, 2020, 4:41 pm

Heard first hand that a vineyard in the Laguna area has tested positive for smoke. Don't know the numbers or any details. They will not pick. Going to turn it over to their crop insurance.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#147 Post by GregP » September 6th, 2020, 5:28 pm

Tom DeBiase wrote:
September 6th, 2020, 4:12 pm
GregP wrote:
September 6th, 2020, 3:50 pm
TODAY. Though temps in Laguna Ridge have been manageable up to this point, and it is another day or two of this before a cool down (and sugars stabilizing). I keep track of temps for the past 3 weeks, multiple times per day. Some nights were 50-51F, and most were in low to mid 50s, which you seem to ignore.

Sugars is not a worry, one can deal with that one way or another. Smoke taint is, main issue to be worried about right now. And as I pointed out, what with ETS mismanaging their time frames and client expectations, this heat spike may force even more people to simply walk away and not pick when ETS results are, way, WAY too late, and getting worse, and decisions must be made.
Greg, do you have a specific ETS reading in mind vs the flavor of test ferments. Is a poor ETS reading with no smoke flavor indicative of not taking a chance the smoke will turn up in storage.

Curious what will be your deciding factor in going forward or not.

Hope all goes well with both tests and flavor.

Tom
0.5, nothing higher. Hate to do it to growers, but we also need to protect ourselves.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#148 Post by William Segui » September 6th, 2020, 6:07 pm

GregP wrote:
September 6th, 2020, 5:28 pm

0.5, nothing higher. Hate to do it to growers, but we also need to protect ourselves.
.5 is the detectable threshold for ETS is it not?

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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#149 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 6th, 2020, 6:17 pm

My prediction:
Lawyers gonna get rich on smoke taint and growers gonna get the short end.
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Re: Smoke taint 2020...

#150 Post by GregP » September 6th, 2020, 6:42 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
September 6th, 2020, 4:41 pm
Heard first hand that a vineyard in the Laguna area has tested positive for smoke. Don't know the numbers or any details. They will not pick. Going to turn it over to their crop insurance.
Casey, have no idea where you're trying to go with this, second post of yours at this point.

I have learned, sadly way too late, that one really needs to filter a lot of what is being said in wine business. Just yesterday a vineyard claimed they tested for smoke taint, came up clean (no, not in RRV). While having no idea just how "involved" I am with ETS and tests/dates at this point, having been in so called first echelon of samples submitted with results not even on the horizon. So, sure, I asked them to email me the test results fully confident they never tested (as much as I wanted to call a lie to their faces). So, far no response, zilch, nada. Complete silence. But, you know, "they tested".

A lot of people claim a lot of things in regard to smoke taint. This thread included. I will be happy to post our results, doesn't matter to me how bad, or acceptable. When I receive them, of course. Until then I keep hearing stories of people refusing to take fruit, and in my view, in some cases the declines have nothing to do with whether there is actual smoke taint, but people's play acting when they know they simply want to cut down on production due to inability to sell. This cutting back on production started before the fires, if you're paying attention and I know that you do, so fires and smoke taint only gives them an easier way out of contracts. Brutal truth, but you, of all people, should not have someone spell it out for you.

So far, and I have second micro ferment going, both display no off notes of any sort. What it means in the end I have no idea, and not making any claims in regard to smoke taint until I know one way or another, but doing all I can on my end to verify, every which way. And awaiting ETS results at this point to clarify things.

Until then its all he said, she said BS that means nothing to me.

You know, husband walking in on his wife in bed with his best friend. Wife: Who are you going to believe, your loving wife or your lying eyes.

PS. As I finished typing the above got a call, my mother has passed, in NY, so all of this is pretty much moot to me with the 14 day enforced quarantine BS. So, signing off for now.
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