Napa winemaker turns smoke-tainted grapes into vodka

A winemaker in Napa County is now turning his grapes, tainted by wildfire smoke, into vodka. 

Last year, the grapes at Pine Ridge Vineyard, owned by the Crimson Wine Group, had a smoky taste because of the Glass Fire. 

But instead of throwing the grapes away, the winemaker teamed up with Hangar 1 Vodka in Alameda, to turn the grapes into Smoke Point Vodka.

It's for sale in stores right now, and, the proceeds from the sale of the vodka go to the California Fire Foundation. 

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Connoisseurs say that Smoke Point does not taste like a mezcal. 

The news site, 7x7, says the vodka has virtually no trace of smoke, which was extracted during the distilling process and its creators say it's completely safe to drink. 

7x7 describes Smoke Point containing "subtly sweet flavors of vanilla, licorice, and butterscotch on the palate with a peppery, allspice finish."

Hangar 1 is the first brand to produce a vodka out of smoke-tinged California wine grapes, but a few other wine producers have also started experimenting with repurposing unusable grapes into spirits post-fire. 

7x7 notes that Napa's Hoopes Vineyard, for example, is working with a Kentucky master distiller to make brandy, while Sacramento-based Spoto Family Wines is in the process of aging a grappa.

Smoke Point can be purchased at the Hangar 1 Distillery in Alameda, on ReserveBar, and at select Bay Area retailers.

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