Out of the ashes: Napa Valley vineyard to distill wildfire-damaged wine into brandy

Scotch is peaty. Chardonnay is oaky. And brandy is smoky—sometimes literally, now that California wildfires are burning earlier in the season and damaging grape vines. Even when a vineyard survives a fire, unharvested grapes can be damaged with something called smoke taint, a phenomenon that results in ashy-tasting wine. But instead of pouring out its smoke-tainted wine from 2017, Napa Valley’s Hoopes Vineyard has begun distilling it into brandy, a process that can take two or more years, Food and Wine reports. The first batch will be ready in late 2021. A smoky finish, indeed. 

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