NEWS

Hot weather creates bumper crop for B.C.'s winemakers

08/06/2015 08:56 EDT | Updated 08/06/2016 05:59 EDT
The hot and dry conditions across B.C. have sped up the growing season and resulted in a bumper crop on Vancouver Island and the Okanagan region. But it also brings some unique challenges for the province's winemakers. 

The grapes are ripening as much as four weeks early at Emerald Coast Vineyards in Port Alberni with the intense and prolonged hot weather that has gripped the Island. 

"With the way the grapes and the flavours are out there right now, this is hopefully our year," says Rhonda McLellan, who works at the family business. 

Meanwhile, in the Okanagan, Graham O'Rourke of Tightrope Winery says winemakers will have to change the way they harvest the grapes because of the hot weather.

"The window of ripening is going to be very narrow and we're going to have to hit it at the right time," he said. 

O'Rourke says the grapes have to be picked when they have the right balance of sugar and acidity.

"Part of what the Okanagan is known for is, and my winery especially, is lighter, little bit more delicate whites that require the acidity that gives the wine a nice finish."

He says winemakers won't really know how good their wine is until the fermentation process is complete in December.
 

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