Grapes
Credit: BC Wine Institute

The grapes in B.C.’s two largest producing wine regions, the Okanagan Valley and the Similkameen Valley, experienced above-average temperatures through the summer of 2017.

 

The 2017 vintage started cold and late but a warm spring and hot, dry summer has resulted in an excellent concentration of flavour, said Laura Kittmer, media relations manager at the British Columbia Wine Institute. 

Once the warm dry weather settled in, the grapes in B.C.’s two largest producing wine regions, the Okanagan Valley and the Similkameen Valley, experienced above-average temperatures through the summer.

“The result was smaller berries, which means less juice, but excellent concentration and flavour complexity,” noted David Paterson, general manager and winemaker at Tantalus Vineyards in Kelowna. In the Similkameen Valley, John Weber, winemaker and owner at Orofino Winery agreed, noting the resulting small clusters and excellent quality juice.

The Fraser Valley experienced a long and wet spring and several summer heat waves in the 30 degree-plus range with harvest recorded later than usual. Andrew Etsell, general manager and viticulturist at Singletree Winery in Abbotsford said, “the warm and dry fall allowed more hang time for excellent flavour development.” 

Lamont Brooks of the Wine Islands Growers Association said that by mid-May Vancouver Island also had experienced one of the coolest starts in the last decade. Warmer temperatures and little precipitation followed for nearly perfect conditions. He said that in the end, “due to the excellent fruit set, many vineyards set their all-time yield records.”

It’s similar elsewhere: Harper’s Trail Estate Winery in Kamloops reported lower yields but phenomenal quality. Fort Berens Estate Winery reported that Lillooet is also expecting concentrated and flavourful fruit. 

Icewine harvest started on Nov. 6, making 2017 the earliest icewine harvest in the last 10 years with 22 wineries reporting an estimated 523 tons of Icewine grapes with excellent quality.

And although the supply might be less, the intensely flavoured and balanced wines will make 2017 a quality vintage.

— Laura Kittmer, Media Relations Manager, BC Wine Institute