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How did the Cape Fires Affect the Wine Industry? Cathy Marston Explains

Love Your WineIn light of the Cape Fires that ravaged the Peninsula earlier this year, Love Your Wine: Get to grips with what you are drinking author Cathy Marston wrote an article for Food24 about the effects of the fires on Cape wine producers.

White wine drinkers can rest easy. Marston writes that since the 2015 harvest year happened very early most of the white grapes have been picked already, so the fires will not have affected white wine production. On the other hand, however, areas like Stellenbosch and Constantia where the most black grapes are grown were covered in smoke, which can result in some strange-tasting red wines this season.

Read the article in which Marston explains how the Cape Fires may have altered the taste of red wines from the 2015 harvest:

The problems lie with the black grapes used to make red wine. Smoke covered pretty much all the vineyards in Constantia and Cape Point at some point (although farms en route to Hout Bay such as Eagles’ Nest, Constantia Glen and Beau Constantia look to have escaped the worst of it) and that smoke can give unwanted flavours to the wine such as burnt toast, smoked fish, ashtray and other unpleasant tastes.

The problems are two-fold – firstly that these flavours are difficult to detect with any certainty while the wine is being made. You can taste the juice and think it’s fine to go ahead and put it in the bottle only to find when the wine is opened later, these off-flavours have developed and made the wine taste awful.

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