A harvest update from the BC Wine Institute indicates that good weather during the growing season is buoying the optimism of winemakers during a wet harvest.
September saw 40.8 mm of rain in Kelowna, well above the long-term average of 32.4 mm. October has seen 21.5 mm this month to date, on track to match the long-term normal of 29.2 mm for the month.
The result has been lower sugars and in turn alcohol levels in the developing wines, promising lighter elegant wines than often occur in warmer growing seasons.
“Winemakers remain optimistic as they head into the last few weeks of harvest with many looking forward to lower alcohol levels and vibrant natural acidity for a fresh and elegant 2019 vintage,” the institute reported this week.
“I think vintage variation makes it more interesting for the wine drinker,” remarked Kathy Malone in comments from winemakers accompanying the update. “It adds an element of sophistication to the region.”
While wet weather often puts pressure on wineries to get the fruit in before disease takes hold, most winemakers say disease pressure has been low thanks to tight management of the crop.
With some reports earlier in the season predicted a slightly lighter crop as a result of damage from an inflow of Arctic air in February, winemakers seem pleased with the fruit nature delivered.
The return of Arctic temperatures – heralded by a short of frost in September – will set up the harvest of grapes for ice wine. Wineries must register their intention to pick fruit for ice wine with the BC Wine Authority by October 31.