Riverina winemakers and growers gathered in Griffith to learn about the science behind smoke affecting grapes ahead of this year's vintage.
An industry-only session organised by the Riverina Winemakers Association and facilitated by NSW Wine and the Australian Wine Research Institute was held at the Griffith Southside Leagues Club to provide information on smoke and the effect it has on grapes.
President of the NSW Wine Industry Association Mark Bourne said the choice was made to hold the session to provide growers with the information needed to take the next steps when looking at harvesting grapes for the upcoming and future vintages.
"The NSW WIA has been pretty active this year and proactive in getting the right information to the regions, the growers and the winemakers about any possible effect to do with the fires and in particular droughts as well," Mr Bourne said.
"Days like today are about giving that information to the growers and giving them the power to make their own decisions about what's harvested and what's not harvested in some cases.
"We're in the middle of a drought and other conditions, but the NSW wine industry is quite a mature industry, we're quite tough. We have good seasons, we have bad seasons and we have challenging ones, but we're quite capable and we know how to get through them."
Mr Bourne said the session went into the "world-class" research from the AWRI into smoke-taint and discussed options for testing and analysis which is available for growers and winemakers ahead of this year's upcoming vintage.
He said it was "too early to tell" whether the grapes grown in the Riverina region had been affected by the smoke which had drifted into the region from bushfires across the state, but said the Riverina was likely at a "very low risk level".
"Testing hasn't taken place so we can't comment on any results out of here," Mr Bourne said.
"But we're obviously dealing with the wine making companies in this area that source grapes from other regions of NSW, which is an important part of their business as well."
The testing of grapes occurs when there is a sufficient level of sugar present and Mr Bourne said some warmer areas in the state have started testing but cooler regions, such as the fire-ravaged Tumbarumba area, will be beginning to test their grapes in the near future.
"The impact on them [Tumbarumba] is more direct with fires affecting infrastructure and vineyards directly," Mr Bourne said.
"We're working with them and the NSW government at this time to give them as much support as possible to get them through this vintage."
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