A new $1.3 million network of sensors to monitor the impact of smoke taint on wine grapes has been described as a world-first.
Wines of the King Valley Inc has landed $870,000 from the federal and Victorian governments for the project, but its president Dean Cleave-Smith said grape growing areas across the Victoria's north-east would be involved.
Around 100 sensors will be installed across the King Valley, Alpine Valleys, Beechworth, Glenrowan and Rutherglen wine zones, with data to be fed to a virtual cloud and then provided to growers via a website or app.
"There will be a dashboard and it will present accumulated smoke levels and what that means for specific grape varieties, because one thing we've learnt is different grape varieties have different levels of susceptibly to smoke," Mr Cleave-Smith said.
Excessive smoke damages the flavour of grapes and can leave winemakers unable to use their crop after a bushfire because it is unpalatable.
Climate change and the likelihood of more regular bushfires has driven the push for a more detailed monitoring effort via a sensor system.
"It's a world-first and there's a great deal of interest at a national level and to a lesser extent internationally in a network of this worth," Mr Cleave-Smith said.
"The bushfire threat is really to the industry on a global basis, but the research has been done in Australia, particularly through the work of Professor from La Trobe University."
Mr Cleave-Smith hopes that a significant part of the network will be rolled out by next year.
Rutherglen vigneron Chris Pfeiffer embraced the prospect of more analysis.
"Anything to help us understand the movement of smoke and the potential for damage to our crops and to improve our knowledge base is a welcome step forward," Mr Pfeiffer said.
He said smoke taint during the Black Summer bushfires had left his winery unable to bottle any red grape varietals and only one white.
"I'm not a climate denialist so I think we're going to have more of these events and it will cause more problems," Mr Pfeiffer said.
Red grapes are more likely to suffer with smoke taint because their skins play a greater role in fermentation than their white cousins.
Mr Pfeiffer said he had been involved without success in trialling different techniques using carbon compounds to absorb the smoke taint to leave a pleasant taste.
In addition to the $870,000 from the governments, industry parties are providing money for the network which follows Deparment of Land, Environment, Water and Planning sensors having been set-up temporarily at wineries during smoky times.