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Wine Growers BC finds lower yields but good quality in Okanagan

2020 wine crop small, tasty

The wine growing season last year in the Thompson Okanagan was similar to COVID-ravaged 2020 as a whole.

It could've been better.

Even though yields were down 25% to 30%, the grapes that did survive the cool spring ended up ripening late in to the fall, according to the Wines Growers BC 2020 Vintage Report. That resulted in high-quality fruit and wines with excellent balance of vibrant, natural acidity, moderate alcohol levels, excellent flavour concentration and ripe tannins.

“It’s the best pinot noir I’ve seen in 12 years in the Okanagan,” Tantalus Vineyards general manager and winemaker David Paterson said in the report. “The tannins are beautiful, concentration unreal and the aromatics off the chart; a small quantity, but delicious vintage.”

The report found that the -20 C temperatures and cooler, damp spring weather resulted in bud damage and late flowering in the Okanagan and Thompson Valley, but the Similkameen Valley escaped relatively unscathed.

“The quantity of crop was quite low, and it took us a little by surprise as the vineyard looked particularly healthy throughout the season,” Orofino owner and winemaker John Weber said in the report. “Weights across the board were lower than average, but the quality of the vintage was excellent. Low yields, but excellent quality. I am seeing exceptional aromatics, especially on our rieslings and gamay. Excellent potential!”

And even though the spring was cool, winter wasn’t cold enough to produce a bumper ice wine crop, as seven producers ended picking only 75 of a potential 300 tonnes of grapes.

It was the smallest ice wine crop in the last 20 years.



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