Confessions of a smoke-taint taster

2020 grape harvest at Lightning Rock, Okanagan

Arnica Rowan lives in Okanagan, where the surrounding vineyards, such as this one at Lightning Rock in Summerland, British Columbia, are so smoke-affected that pickers have been given masks and respirators. Photo by Ron Kubek.

I could taste it, even before I opened my eyes. There was that restricted feeling in my lungs, and a bitter taste of ash on my tongue. I didn’t even need to get out of bed to know that our house would be surrounded by haze. Forest fire is too familiar an aroma, in the air and in wine.

Living in Western Canada, we are...