Researchers in Mildura are currently cracking open bottle upon bottle of wine that’s been deliberately exposed to high levels of smoke.
Department of Environment and Primary Industries technical officer Fred Hancock says it’s part of an ongoing experiment to test the effect of bushfire smoke on grapes.
“We put a tent over the vine and then I have a smoker and we produce smoke and then pump that into the tent, trying to simulate the effects of a bushfire on the wine grapes,” Mr Hancock says.
“We’re testing three varieties, we’re testing one white, Chardonnay and two reds, so the Shiraz and the Cabernet Sauvignon.”
But he says that unlike most wine tastings, volunteers haven’t exactly been forthcoming.
“To me it smells very rubbery,” Mr Hancock says.
“Other people pick up different aromas but certainly nobody’s very keen to try and taste [the wine] because it smells so bad,” he says.