In The Clear

Smoke taint ain’t a thing in Colorado.

A bunch of dark blue wine grapes after harvest ready to produce wine
Colorado's grapes are set to make delicious wine, free from smoke taint. / Youry Ermoshkin ©

As wildfires ravaged much of the western United States, a lot of attention fell on California and its vineyards. Beyond the horrific devastation, smoke taint—in which grape skins absorb unwanted flavors—is an added headache for many vintners.

Thankfully, Colorado’s wildfires didn’t directly impact our wine industry. Although the Pine Gulch and Grizzly Creek blazes made for smoky work conditions on the Western Slope, clinical analysis indicates that the grapes themselves came through unscathed. However, the trifecta of smoke concerns, record warm temperatures, and extreme drought created the earliest harvest on record.

With wildfires an ongoing reality, Denver-based Infinite Monkey Theorem and Palisade’s Sauvage Spectrum are creating a red blend (called Ignition Alliance), from which 20 percent of proceeds will go to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. The organization provides help to the families of wildland firefighters who have lost their lives or were injured in the line of duty.

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