Wineries across the province experience record-breaking start dates for harvest

Early grape harvest wraps

With this summer's extreme heat wave followed by a swift transition from growing season to harvest time, winemakers throughout the region reported record-breaking start dates.

“We harvested our Siegerrebe on August 24…the earliest we have ever picked,” said Sasha Masner of Larch Hills Winery in Shuswap.

Meanwhile, in the Thompson Valley, winemaker Galen Barnhardt of Monte Creek Winery had a very similar experience.

“This marks our earliest harvest ever (beating 2015 by one day).” Monte Creek began picking their grapes for sparkling wine on August 18.

Winemakers in parts of the province are reporting lower yields as a result of heat spikes and low rainfall, smaller berries with deeply concentrated flavours described go hand-in-hand with high quality premium wines that consumers can look forward to enjoying.

Wine Growers say it is important to note that just as one vintage is never the same twice, one growing season can present a different set of challenges and opportunities depending on where you are in the province.

“British Columbia is a vibrant industry with unique regions, climate, varieties and styles throughout,” says Miles Prodan, president and CEO of WGBC.

What each region has in common is the abundance of “hard-working visionaries who continue to innovate” says Prodan, “we look forward to seeing how the wineries embrace their fruit and create beautifully handcrafted BC wines.”

At this point in time harvest is coming to an end, with most wineries having brought in both red and white varieties off the vine, with the exception of late harvest and ice wine varieties.

Wineries in the Okanagan are also keeping a close eye on the possibility of smoke taint, due to the summer's massive wildfires.

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