Davis – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) presented a check for $1,205,966 to Dr. Anita Oberholster and her team at the University of California, Davis to conduct smoke exposure research. Rep. Thompson secured this funding in the final 2023 appropriations government funding bill.
“Smoke from wildfires is a consistent threat to our communities, and we are just beginning to understand how it is impacting agricultural products,” said Thompson. “I worked to secure this funding for researchers at UC Davis to investigate how smoke exposure changes the composition of winegrapes and other products. UC Davis is a world-class research institution, and this funding will help them further advance their research and help our agriculture community better respond to natural disasters like wildfires.”
The funding is to purchase two pieces of equipment: the Gas Chromatography Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS/MS) and an Ultra High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (UPLC-QTOF-MS) which are essential analytical equipment for grape smoke exposure research. The new research equipment will also support undergraduate and graduate training and curriculum development; and research outcomes will be extended to stakeholders and the wider community to increase understanding of wildfire smoke impact and best management practices.
Critical research questions currently investigated by the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis are: 1) developing robust and standardized methodologies to determine smoke exposure impact; 2) establish a comprehensive and reliable database of background levels of smoke taint compounds occurring naturally in wine grapes (baseline); 3) determine odor threshold levels in different wine matrixes; and 4) determine mitigation actions in both the vineyard and winery to minimize economic impact. Enhanced instrumental support will ensure critical progress is made between one fire season and the next which, in turn, will support the vitality of the grape and wine community at large, improving outcomes when wildfire smoke next threatens grape and wine quality.