Treating smoke taint in wines with VAF Memstar

Sadly, Grapegrowers and Winemakers have yet again been dramatically affected by bushfires which have directly damaged vineyards and wineries. Even where the damage was not to their physical assets, the smoke which has lingered in so many of our growing regions has created great anxiety about the ultimate quality of crops.

At VAF Memstar our thoughts are with those affected, and sympathise with those businesses experiencing the emotional and commercial impacts of this disaster. We are well aware of the problem because we have been at the forefront, working to help affected wineries since 2003. At that time we developed a treatment to remove all or most of the taint characters from finished wines. Since then, with each successive fire episode we have worked closely with researchers and winemakers to understand the problem better and improve our processes and results. We, and our international colleagues have helped affected winemakers in Australia, Canada and USA recover good quality, marketable product from their smoke affected wines.

The VAF Memstar process uses nanofiltration membranes to separate tainted wine into permeate and concentrate fractions. Desirable wine characters are retained in the concentrate where they are not affected by the process. The permeate is passed through an adsorbent column that selectively removes the volatile phenols which are responsible for smoke taint characters. It is then recombined with the concentrate. This continues until the taint is removed, or reduced to a level that is acceptable to the winemaker.

We have found that the process is most effective if done after fermentation and a period of maturation. At the right time, the process has given great and lasting results. As the current vintage is still in progress, there is still time to assess the extent of the problem. We have equipment from bench to full industrial scale to perform trials to demonstrate the process and give peace of mind before fully committing.

It is important to take special note that your State Government may have funding available for testing and technical support relating to this year’s fire events.

If you believe your wines have been affected, please contact us to further explain our process and discuss your options.

Find your ideal solution.
Contact Steven Clarkson or Matthew Hooper
on 08 8562 1139