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In his research project, Collins is using a customized smoker and exhaust hoses with attached fans to evenly distribute smoke and a one-of-a-kind vine enclosure to help mimic smoke levels common in wildfires. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

In his research project, WSU’s Tom Collins developed a customized smoker and exhaust hoses with attached fans to evenly distribute smoke and a one-of-a-kind vine enclosure to help mimic smoke levels common in wildfires. Collins will report on his studies during a seminar on April 17 in Richland, Washington. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

The impact of wildfire smoke exposure is the focus of the Washington Advancements in Viticulture and Enology (WAVEx) research seminar on April 17 in Richland, Washington, according to a news release.

Washington State University’s Tom Collins, one of the nation’s leading smoke exposure scientists, will review the current state of knowledge during the seminar. Collins developed a portable smoke hoop house to initiate smoking trials in WSU’s research vineyard so he could control the timing and the amount of smoke applied to the grapes. (See “How does smoke affect wine grapes?” from our archives.) His project has studied the timing of exposure and the role of fuel source, as well as the resulting off-flavors, also known as smoke taint.

The seminar will include tasting wines made from Collins’ smoke exposure timing trials, fuel source and mitigation through reverse osmosis.

The WAVEx seminar at the WSU-Tri-Cities campus is sponsored by Washington State Wine and WSU. WAVEx is a condensed version of the signature WAVE seminar. The purpose of WAVE is to raise awareness of Washington wine grape growers and wineries of industry-supported research, share research outcomes and encourage two-way communication between growers, vintners and scientists.

Preregistration is required, as seating is limited. Registration is available in the events section of www.washingtonwine.org.

—by Jared Johnson