USDA teaming with wine industry on smoke taint research effort

USDA to collaborate on $2M West Coast smoke taint research project

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s agricultural research service is partnering with research institutions in California, Oregon and Washington on a ?$2 million research program to combat smoke taint on wine grapes.

The West Coast Smoke Task Force was formed by industry leaders with representation from the California Association of Winegrape Growers, Oregon Wine Board and Washington Winegrowers.

The grape damage from smoke taint has been increasing because of the frequency of California wildfires. Research on the overall topic is still mostly in its early stages with the most groundbreaking work largely conducted in Australia.

The USDA project will cover smoke exposure in vineyards, the chemical changes in grapes and wines and consumer perception of smoke taint, among other things.

Sonoma Valley wine trade group hosting online sale of more than 60 wineries

The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance is offering a curated wine list of its members for sale online through Sunday.

The Sonoma Valley Wine Collective features limited availability wines from more than 60 wineries and sourced from six different winegrowing appellations. The digital effort comes after the trade group canceled its annual Signature Sonoma Valley event this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The event has been rescheduled for May 2021.

A percentage of sales will be donated to the La Luz Crisis Fund to support the local community.

More information can be found on

Santa Rosa Conetech wine industry laboratory founder and president dies

Anthony “Tony” C. Dann, who founded Santa Rosa laboratory Conetech that serves the wine industry, died of natural causes at his home in Carmel Valley on April 21, according to the company. Dann had been president of the company until the end of March.

He entered the wine industry in 1984 after executive positions with international divisions of major consumer-packaged goods companies, with particular focus on Latin America. Seven years later, he started the business that later became Conetech, which helps winemakers perfect their vintages by lowering alcohol and adjusting flavors and aromas.

The company, which is under the umbrella of Advanced Beverage Technologies, also has clients in the beer and spirits sectors.

Debbie Novograd, who had been deputy CEO, now is running Conetech.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to

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