ALPINE, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. West Coast produces over 90% of America’s wine, but it’s also prone to wildfires — a combustible combination that spelled disaster in 2020 for the industry and one that scientists are scrambling to neutralize.

Sample a good wine and you might get notes of oak or red fruit. But sip on wine made from grapes that were penetrated by smoke, and it will likely taste like someone dumped an ashtray into your glass.

Wine experts from three West Coast universities are working to meet the threat, including developing spray coatings to protect grapes, pinpointing elusive compounds that creates that nasty ashy taste and deploying smoke sensors to vineyards.

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