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Ice wine harvest starting early this year

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November 13, 2014 - 2:30 PM

KELOWNA – The CEO of Summerhill Pyramid Winery is one of the few people hoping it gets even colder in the next few days.

“Vintners are crazy by our very nature,” Ezra Cipes says. His team were expecting to start harvesting frozen grapes for their ice wines last night, but the call was made at around 5 a.m. to postpone one more night.

“The thing about ice wine is that you have to harvest it and press it all while it’s frozen,” he says. “If it warms up and the grapes melt it’s not ice wine anymore.”

He says although the temperature needs to be at least -8 C, they prefer it be even lower to ensure the grapes stay frozen during the entire process.

“We just weren’t confident enough but hopefully we’ll get it tonight,” he says.

Summerhill had around 20 pickers on standby for a midnight start but Cipes wants the temperature to stay at -10 C for several hours.

“Last night was just too marginal,” he says. “We didn’t want to take the risk.”

Still, Cipes says this is looking like one of the earliest harvests they’ve ever had. Last year they weren’t able to start until Nov. 21, which was also earlier than usual. In 2009 they had to wait until mid-January.

“I believe this is the second earliest harvest of ice wine in the books,” he says.

Summerhill produces a variety of ice wines. Their most expensive, called Zweigelt, costs $148 for a 375 ml bottle.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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