December 16, 2009 By J.P. Squire | Canadian Press
December 1, 2009, Kelowna, B.C. – Grape pickers in Kelowna, B.C., donned
their gloves, toques and boots to harvest the frozen fruit this week
after an eagerly awaited temperature of -8 C finally arrived so
Okanagan wineries could make ice wine.
December 1, 2009, Kelowna, B.C. – Grape pickers in Kelowna, B.C., donned their gloves, toques and boots to harvest the frozen fruit this week after an eagerly awaited temperature of -8 C finally arrived so Okanagan wineries could make ice wine.
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Mission Hill Winery and Tantalus Vineyards were the first off the mark among the region's 14
wineries ready for the dessert wine.
"We were given the heads up by our viticulturist-vineyard manager Andrew Moon on Friday that there was a good chance we
would be picking the kerner icewine grapes on Monday
Tinhorn's marketing co-ordinator Lindsey White.
"Sure enough, he called Monday morning at 6:30 a.m. to tell us that picking would start at 7:30 a.m."
About 20 staff and volunteers showed up wearing their winter attire and harvested two tonnes of grapes from a
one-acre hillside, White said.
"The mood was pretty upbeat and relaxed. The temperature was around -10 C and the sky was a brilliant blue.''
Assistant winemaker Korol Kuklo said the quality of the grapes was excellent.
"We saw this one coming for some time now,'' said Ingo Grady, director of wine education at Mission Hill.
The arctic outflow was in the long-range forecast for some time. Most of our weather forecasting this season has been spot on.''
Twenty professional pickers harvested 15 bins of vidal grapes nearby a half-tonne each _
from the Naramata Ranch before the temperature climbed past -8 C.
Another 35 people picked another 20 bins of riesling grapes off the West Kelowna vineyard between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
The winery expected to get the final 15 bins of grapes
off the vineyard by early Tuesday morning.
"There's a lot of good fortune involved,'' said Grady. "If you were to do your planning in spring at bud break and you said this
is what we would like to happen, it happened this year.''
The vineyard caught up with an 18-day deficit due to a lack of rain in May and June, he said.
"Then we had a perfect summer and a great September. The vintage is made in September in terms of table wines. Then let's get the icewine done before Christmas. Nothing but checkmarks on the wish list.''
In 2008, Mission Hill, Canada's Winery of the Year, won the International Wine Challenge trophy for the world's top ice wine
at Europe's major wine competition.
Tantalus Vineyards in Kelowna also completed its harvest of 750 kilograms of ice wine grapes at -11 C on Monday
morning, said Lindsay Anders with the BC Wine Institute.
It was too warm at Summerhill Pyramid Winery near Okanagan Lake but picking was expected to start early Tuesday morning.
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