More than 200 people from the wine industry have packed into the Brown Brothers barn to talk about fears of smoke taint from the bushfires.
They gathered on Wednesday at the event hosted by the North East Catchment Management Authority to hear from experts from the Australian Wine Research Institute.
Industry development and support group manager Con Simos said although they have been tracking the effects of fires over the past 15 years, no two events are the same.
He did not say how many grapes in the North East would be affected because it was still early days, but wanted to educate vingerons on the science of smoke taint and what could be done during this bushfire event if smoke was absorbed into the grapes.
"Be strong at this period of time, be positive and just look at what options you have going forward," he said.
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"Consumers, while they may not understand what smoke taint is, they dislike the characters (of the wine).
"We've learnt this by working with many producers over a long period of time."
Wine produced with smoke-tainted grapes in the past had failed in the market and companies had been forced to pull the vintage from the shelves.
Be strong at this period of time, be positive and just look at what options you have going forward.- Con Simos, Australian Wine Research Institute industry
Mr Simos said bushfires, burn-offs and hazard-reduction burns all produced the same kind of smoke taint and there was not a lot of evidence on whether different varieties were more susceptible, but it did differ depending on the age of the grapes.
"If there's a fire then the risk is there, irrespective of where that source is from," he said. "The fires have been much, much earlier in terms of their timing ... My understanding is you're probably still three weeks behind your normal cycle, so I would like to think that would be a positive."
Brown Brothers chief executive Dean Carroll said it was a very difficult time for the industry and the meeting was about understanding the science, working together and taking out the subjectivity of smoke taint.
"We acknowledge the absolute importance of being more knowledgeable for the future. As you can see, the risk is not going away," he said.
"Many of the people in this room have been decimated over the past four weeks due to lack of tourism."
Experts in rural health also spoke to the crowd at Brown Brothers, encouraging them to talk if they are experiencing any troubles.
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