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Napa Winery cancels Oregon contracts over smoke taint

15 Oregon wines from the Rouge Valley have had their contracts nulled by a Californian grower Copper Cane Wines & Provisions over smoke taint concerns. The 2,000 tonnes of fruit could now potentially be left on the vines.

Smoke taint is a serious concern as the grapes absorb the tainted flavour which can express themselves in the wine. John Pratt, president of the Rogue Valley Winegrowers Association, told Capital Press: “I think most everybody was stunned. It was devastating. Everybody feels very strongly that it’s just a bogus smokescreen, scapegoat reason for rejecting the fruit.”

He said that while there had been wildfires near some vineyards, the levels of guiacol and methylguiacol – the compounds released by burning wood which cause smoke taint – were well below levels that might cause concern.