Full-Bodied With Hints of Forest Fire AI Masks Smoke Flavor in Wine's Tainted by Wildfire

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Sequence showing how the service called Tastry works

Wineries in areas affected by wildfires are using machine learning to produce vintages that don’t taste like smoke.

What’s new: Some California winemakers are using a service called Tastry to identify grapes tainted by smoke from the state’s surging blazes and recommend blends that will mask the flavor, The Wall Street Journal reported.

How it works: Called CompuBlend, Tastry’s system analyzes grapes’ chemical makeup, including smoke compounds absorbed through their skins. A model recommends other varieties that can mask the taste.

  • The system was trained on the chemical composition of various grape varieties and consumer preferences gathered by surveying reactions to various flavors and aromas, such as the taste of coffee or the smell of cut grass.
  • The model finds blends that both mask off-flavors and appeal to consumers.

Behind the news: The ancient art of winemaking is adopting AI.

  • VineScout is an autonomous wheeled robot that uses lidar and ultrasonic cameras to navigate rows of grapes while analyzing soil conditions.
  • Diam Bouchage, a cork manufacturer, assesses quality with a machine learning tool that analyzes x-ray images of individual corks.
  • Ailytic, an Australian company, built a machine learning platform that helps winemakers monitor aspects of their manufacturing process such as temperature and bottle inventory.

Why it matters: Wildfires are a growing threat to wine regions in Australia, California, and France. They cost the industry an estimated $3.7 billion in 2020. AI could help vintners recoup some of the losses.

We’re thinking: While there's a clear need to adapt to human-induced climate change, it’s tragic that the planet has heated to the point that formerly temperate areas are burning. We applaud the work of Climate Change AI.


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