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Recent cold snap too feeble to complete icewine harvest

Last week's cooler temperatures didn't last long enough for Okanagan grape growers to finish this year's icewine harvest, and time is running out.
Last week's cooler temperatures didn't last long enough for Okanagan grape growers to finish this year's icewine harvest, and time is running out.
Image Credit: Eric von Krosigk

Last week’s cooler nighttime low temperatures failed to last long enough for Okanagan grape growers to harvest their crops.

British Columbia Wine Institute Communications Director Laura Kittmer says there was a small picking of icewine grapes over last weekend with around 10 tonnes picked between Friday night, Jan. 23 and Saturday night, Jan. 24.

This year, the wine institute has seen 300 tonnes of grapes on 73 acres registered with the B.C. Wine Authority, one of the smaller icewine harvests in terms of production.

Kittmer says the lowest years to date for icewine tonnage were:

  • 2002 - 145 tonnes
  • 2009 - 210 tonnes
  • 2019 - 204 tonnes

Last year, 478 tonnes on 205 acres was registered, with a reported 205 tonnes picked.

“Where the harvest will ultimately rank this year will depend on how much actually gets picked,” Kittmer says.

Last week’s picking occurred on vineyards in Keremeos and West Kelowna, where temperatures were between -8 Celsius and -11.5 C. The first pick of the season was done by Bench 1775 winery, which picked two tonnes of Riesling from a Summerland vineyard on Dec. 23.

There are no signs of an Arctic cold front in the next week's forecast from Environment Canada.


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