Environmental Taint

Wildfire Smoke & Other Environmental Taint Removal from Wine


Winemaking Challenge: Environmental Taint

Environmental threats from brush fires, mold, local flora, agriculture, roads, and insects around the vineyard can affect grapes and the resultant wine:

  • “The fire was really bad this summer.” If you are tasting the evidence of last year’s smoke exposure, then you should remove the offensive sensory impacts.
  • “This must be from the block near the woods”.  If your wine bears the imprint of local trees and plants such as eucalyptus, these non-vinuous flavors may need to be suppressed.
  • “Do you pick up cilantro in this?” If insects with strong aromas for defense such as the Asian Lady Beetle have brought unwanted flavors through fermentation, then you need to eliminate them.
  • “I don’t know what that is but I don’t like it”. If you have a taint from an unidentifiable source, you need a method to identify it.

Winesecrets can guide you past this challenge.

Environmental taint comes from vineyard surroundings which may be beyond your control. Wildfire smoke is absorbed by berry skins, entering the winery with the fruit. The smoke characteristics become evident following fermentation. In many cases, taint elements do not manifest until after malolactic fermentation. Even if undetectable, smoke may suppress fruity aromatics, robbing a wine of its best attributes.

Strong eucalyptus oils can cling to grape skins. Insects including brown marmarated stink bug and Asian Lady Beetle can bring green, herbaceous aromas. 5 beetles in a 30 lb lug provide sufficient taint compound to be detectable in finished wine.

Winesecrets Flavor Recovery technology utilizes Molecular Reverse Osmosis for its targeted removal of environmental taints. 

Molecular Reverse Osmosis for Environmental Taint Removal

  • Water, alcohol and small aromatic compounds including the environmental taint are separated from the rest of the wine.
  • The taint compounds are removed.
  • Winesecrets' flavor recovery may be performed at your facility or ours.

Your Results

Winesecrets can remove environmental taint from a wine at rates up to 500 gallons per hour. With this efficient Flavor Recovery technology:

  • Free from the aroma suppression of the environmental taint, your wine demonstrates its intended aroma and flavor potential.
  • Burning, acrid smoke elements are gone. Minty or herbaceous aromas are reduced.  
  • The need to blend multiple wine lots to mitigate off-aromas is reduced, increasing winemaker flexibility.
  • You are protected from “ink taint”, which results when a wine critic’s recognition of a known contaminant.

Your Advantage

Winesecrets' Environmental taint removal system employs Molecular RO (200 MW) molecular weight, Molecular RO filters. Your benefits for choosing to work with us include:

  • Wine Integrity: Water, alcohol and the offending components are treated, leaving all other wine components intact.
  • Targeted Treatment: Our competitors use larger pore membranes, with more of the wine's important sensory elements contacting the treatment media making them more susceptible to aromatic stripping. 
  • Superior Outcomes: Winesecrets uses a highly selective form of adsorbtive carbon, which out-performs bulk carbon methods and organic ion exchange.

Winesecrets has conducted environmental taint removal on millions of gallons of wine throughout North America. Our highly trained, professional staff can return your wine to its intended flavor profile at your winery or at our central location in Sebastopol, CA.     

contact us to fix your environmental taint problem