CDFA Teams with UC Davis to Provide Additional Smoke Testing

Brian German Industry, Nuts & Grapes

The University of California, Davis and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) are teaming up to provide more smoke testing options for agriculture. The overwhelming number of wildfires in 2020 has created exceptionally smokey conditions. The issue has been particularly challenging for the winegrape industry. The increased demand for smoke testing on winegrapes and wine has put excessive pressure on laboratory testing capacity. CDFA and UC Davis will be providing additional assistance to address the need for more testing from commercial labs.

smoke testing - UC Davis

CDFA’s Center for Analytical Chemistry (CAC) is offering the winegrape analysis. The increased testing ability should provide the industry with another outlet that can test between 30 and 50 samples daily. The expected turnaround time is between three and five days so long as CAC does not become overwhelmed. The turnaround times have recently been reported as being as long as 30 days for commercial testing facilities. CDFA will be providing information on its website should a backlog in testing occur. The CAC homepage has information on how to submit grape samples for smoke testing. The cost per grape sample is $246.

The UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, and the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will be providing wine analysis. The UC Davis Analytical Lab will be measuring compounds such as guaiacol, syringol, and others related to smoke exposure. The analytical methods used for testing are based on those developed in the laboratory of Dr. Anita Oberholster at UC Davis. Wine samples can be submitted for testing at a cost of $150 per sample. Further information available on the UC Davis Analytical Lab’s website.

Although CDFA and UC Davis smoke testing methods have been tested and proven to be accurate the labs have not been specifically certified for the practice. The testing methods are not International Organization for Standardization 17025 accredited. Those interested in submitting samples are encouraged to consult with their insurance provider/legal counsel.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West