Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
11.24.2010  
 

Early Ice Wine Harvest

British Columbia wineries picked frozen grapes this week

 
by Peter Mitham
 
 
Tinhorn Creek
 
No snow is required to produce a fine harvest of grapes for ice wine, as seen at British Columbia's Tinhorn Creek.
Kelowna, British Columbia -- One of the latest grape harvests in memory has been followed by the second-earliest harvest of frozen grapes for ice wine ever recorded in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.

A string of cold days culminated in air temperatures of at least minus-8°C (17.6°F) on Nov. 22, triggering ice wine harvest -- the earliest since the freakishly advanced harvest of Nov. 5, 1993.

Quails’ Gate Estate Winery near Kelowna began picking approximately four tons of Riesling grapes in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, completing harvest within hours. The gradual drop in temperatures through last weekend made for slowly frozen grapes with a good concentration of flavors, said Tony Stewart, co-owner of 50,000-case Quails’ Gate. A touch of Botrytis late in the season also helped dehydrate the grapes and concentrate flavors.

Quails’ Gate’s Botrytis-affected Optima grapes, used for late-harvest wines, were harvested at approximately 52°Brix but ended in the low 40s. Stewart expects similar results from his ice wine grapes. “Typically what happens when they first press off, they’re looking at about 60°Brix, and then they kind of line in at around 39° to 40°,” he told Wines & Vines.

Quails’ Gate began making ice wine in 1993; its most recent vintage was 2008. This year’s cool growing season has Stewart especially curious to see how acids show in the finished wine. Many winemakers are reporting slightly higher acid levels than usual.

Sandra Oldfield of 35,000-case Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in Oliver, B.C., is among those reporting higher than usual acid levels, but prefaced her comment with two words: “Quality awesome.” The acre of Kerner vines Tinhorn harvested yielded grapes with sugar levels registering 41°Brix.
Tinhorn was among the first wineries to pick on Nov. 22, but Oldfield said the early harvest was ideal, given growing conditions this year.

“I don’t feel the grapes would have lasted long this year, due to all the rains we got during the season,” she said.

Beating the early birds to harvest

The early harvest also forestalled depredation by starlings, which were particularly active this year, according to Stewart. In recent years, overwintering Canada geese have shown a liking for ice wine grapes.

“Canada geese have figured out the ice wine grapes actually taste pretty good,” Stewart said. “By picking it in November, I think we get it before they even become aware of it.”

Geese have become a particular problem only recently, and Stewart said netting isn’t an effective control measure. The geese easily rip through netting to reach grapes, which are well within reach of their characteristic necks. Stewart said the best remedy is to scare the geese, shooing them out of the vineyard. They’re quick studies and don’t soon to return to spots where they’re unwelcome. “Once you scare them out, they don’t come back right away,” Stewart observed.

All told, 23 wineries registered intentions with the B.C. Wine Authority to pick grapes for ice wine production this year. This year’s harvest is estimated at 520 tons, with approximately 360 tons harvested on Nov. 22-23. This compares to a harvest of 232 tons by 14 wineries last year.

Washington wineries have not reported harvesting grapes for ice wine this year, despite blizzard conditions across the state this week. A prolonged cold snap in December 2008 allowed Chateau Ste. Michelle to harvest Riesling grapes for ice wine from vines in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, when temperatures hit a chilly 2°F (see “Ice Wine Plucked in Pacific Northwest,” Dec. 17, 2008).

By law, wineries in British Columbia must register an intention to harvest grapes for ice wine production with the B.C. Wine Authority, which oversees wine quality standards in the province. Genuine ice wine is legally defined as being made from “grapes that have been naturally frozen on the vine while the air temperature is minus-8°C (17.6ºF) or lower, and pressed in a continuous process while the grapes are still frozen.”
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
January 2015 $623 million
7%
$7,912 million
5%
January 2014 $583 million $7,514 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
January 2015 $75 million
-3%
$1,818 million
15%
January 2014 $77 million $1,584 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
January 2015 259
26%
233
15%
January 2014 205 203
     
 
MORE » Released on 02.13.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • March 2-5
     
    Decouvertes en Vallee du Rhone
     
  • March 4
     
    Innovation + Quality
     
  • March 4-6
     
    Michigan Wine & Grape Conference
     
  • March 12
     
    Central Coast Insights
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Scurlock joins wine hall of fame »
 
Congratulations David!
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Wineries Cautioned About Internet 'Ads' »
 
I guess my first question would be why is there a three tier system to...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Wine on the Rocks »
 
Great potential! Mineralities are sought after and can be found in these rock formations with...
Reader: Bruce Coulthard
 
Article: 90% of U.S. Consumers Can Buy Wine Direct »
 
You say that 90% of the consumers can buy wine direct. Really? In most cases...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Wineries Cautioned About Internet 'Ads' »
 
It is an unfortunate fact that the regulations have no understanding of modern technology and...
Reader: Paul Mabray
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Tasting Room Associate...
 Paso Robles, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Tasting Room Lead
 Paso Robles, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Hospitality Manager
 Paso Robles, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Mid-Atlantic Regional ...
 Charlotte, Nc, VA
Sales and Marketing
 Enologist
 Oakville, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Compliance Specialist
 Santa Rosa, CA
General Administration and
 Guest Relations Coordi...
 St. Helena, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Nyc/Westchester/Long I...
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Demo Associate - ...
 St. Paul, MN
Sales and Marketing
 Pert Time Sales
 Dundee, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.