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KELOWNA, BC Dec 2016 - BC's annual Icewine harvest has arrived just before the holidays, with the cold temperatures prompting wineries in the Okanagan Valley and Similkameen Valley to start picking grapes early for what can be expected to be a larger vintage than 2015.
Icewine harvest began on December 6, 10 days later than last year's start date of November 25. For three days, temperatures remained below -8°C (17.6°F) throughout the Okanagan Valley allowing wineries whose grapes reached the required 35 Brix to start picking. Pickings resumed on December 12 through 16 for all areas in the Okanagan Valley and Cawston in the Similkameen Valley.
The first 2016 Icewine grapes were picked in West Kelowna on December 6 around 8:00 PM with temperatures ranging between -8°C (17.6°F) and -9°C (15.8°F), by Kalala Estate Winery which brought in 1.5 tons of Chardonnay, 3.5 tons of Riesling and four tons of Zweigelt. They resumed pickings for Merlot and Cabernet Franc on December 8, 14 and 16. Based on the 33 tons of grapes brought in, Winemaker Karnail Sidhu expects 10,000 to 12,000 litres of Icewine for their 2016 vintage. "If we can pick our grapes before the start of winter, it usually means a very good vintage for Icewine." notes Karnail.
There are 23 wineries registered with the BC Wine Authority to pick an estimated 896 standard tons of Icewine grapes on an estimated 205 acres. 18 wineries have started harvest and an estimated 600 tons have been brought in so far, which is already 224 more tons than last year.
"Wineries make a big investment into Icewine harvest and they hope to pick what they anticipate for every year. It comes down to temperature, the earlier freezing temperatures arrive the better chance wineries have to bring in a full crop," notes Lorrie Zander, BC VQA Coordinator of the BC Wine Authority, which regulates Icewine.
For Inniskillin Okanagan (in Oliver, in the south Okanagan Valley) the early harvest has secured an average to larger crop than past years. Viticulturist Troy Osborne said his crew began picking Riesling on the morning of December 8, and finished the morning of December 9. "It's nice to get the grapes off the vines early so we minimize the risk of losing them to issues such as dehydration, degradation or wildlife." With temperatures averaging -12°C (10.4°F), Osborne was pleased with the concentration of the fruit they brought in averaging 42 Brix. "The grapes went through a couple of freeze thaw periods before picking which gives the flavour characteristics we want for Icewine."
Red Rooster Winery began picking Riesling at 1:00 AM on December 8 when temperatures in the Naramata Bench vineyard reached -9°C (15.8°F) bringing in fruit at 40 Brix. They picked again for Riesling and Cabernet Franc on December 13 at -10°C (14°F), finishing harvest at 44 Brix. Although a fair bit of their crop this year was lost due to extreme winds, Karen Gillis, Winemaker at Red Rooster Winery says the overall quality of the grapes is very good. "With days of cold weather, the berries were quite frozen, so although yields were average, what came out of the frozen marbles was a sticky delectable treat.... or it will be when I'm done with it."
Echoing the delight of other Okanagan and Similkameen wineries, Gillis is thrilled with the early arrival of Icewine harvest this year. "It's nice to have a rest at the holidays, we hope every year for this scenario. It is a welcome treat and after a long fresh fruit season, to have Icewine come before Christmas is a great way to cap off a fantastic year." notes Gillis. The Icewine varieties picked are diverse in BC, ranging from aromatic whites to tannic reds. The following grapes have been picked for Icewine: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Ehrenfelser, Gewürztraminer, Kerner, Merlot, Oraniensteiner, Petit Verdot, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Roussanne, Syrah, Vidal, Viognier and Zweigelt. With the arrival of the Icewine harvest, wine lovers across BC can look forward to an excellent crop of new Icewine releases in 2017.
To keep up-to-date on the harvest, follow @winebcdotcom, #BCHarvest2016 and #Icewine on Twitter and Instagram.
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON, Oct. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Inc. ("Diamond Estates" or "the Company") (DWS-TSX Venture) is pleased to announce the official groundbreaking ceremony for their new retail and wine tasting facility in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The ceremony took place Wednesday morning on the property of Diamond Estates Wines in the heart of Niagara wine country and was attended by members of the Niagara wine industry, employees and local dignitaries including Lord Mayor Pat Darte of Niagara-on-the Lake and MPP for Niagara Falls, Wayne Gates. "We are very excited to officially kick-off this next wave of growth for the winery" says Murray Souter, President and CEO of Diamond Estates. "We are thrilled to see our vision of a state-of-the-art tasting facility come to life. Our brands are amongst the most popular VQA wines in Ontario and our exciting new space will hopefully become an equally popular destination for our customers where we can continue to share our knowledge, expertise and love of wine with our guests in an inviting place". Lord Mayor Darte acknowledged, and lauded, the growth of Diamond Estates Wines and the new facility. "Diamond Estates Wines success is important to our community, and the new facility will serve to generate even more tourism revenues for this area" said Lord Mayor Darte. MPP Gates echoed the Lord Mayor's comments highlighting the significance of the Ontario Wine Industry and emphasizing the importance that all politicians, whether at the local, municipal, provincial or federal levels get behind the industry. "Every bottle of Ontario wine results in $40 of contribution to the Ontario economy, whereas a bottle of imported wine contributes less than $2" said MPP Gates. "We need to support the industry every which way we can and I am pleased to be here to show my support and appreciation for everyone at Diamond Estates Wines for their success and growth. This new facility is very exciting for the region and all those that will visit." When opened in the spring of 2017, the facility will be named The Lakeview Wine Company, coincident with the 25th anniversary of Lakeview Cellars, one of the company's premier brands. The new 3,000 square foot facility will feature a 28 foot and a 22 foot marble tasting bar surrounded by full height continuous glass windows providing uninterrupted views of the vineyard and escarpment. The building's exterior will be clad in cedar using the unique Japanese technique of 'Shou Sugi Ban' creating a charred cedar look with natural wood accents.
British Columbia Wine Awards™ Results Kelowna, British Columbia - September 29, 2016
The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society announced the results of the British Columbia Wine Awards™ tonight, marking the official launch of the 36th annual Fall Okanagan Wine Festival. The competition featured a record 624 wine entries from over 90 British Columbia wineries. Ten well respected wine judges worked for 4 days to determine which wines were worthy of recognition for bronze, silver, gold, and platinum medals as well as the overall best wine of 2016 named the Premier’s Award.
The oldest B.C. wine competition, the British Columbia Wine Awards™ is also the province’s largest. Open to all B.C. wineries that use 100% fruit grown in the province, this year’s judging was held on September 15th through 18th at the Sensory Lab at Okanagan College
Amongst the winners, the judges singled out from the Gold honourees, six Platinum medals determined to be the top 1% of the entries. The Platinum medals help showcase the varietals and blends that distinguish British Columbia’s wine region. This year’s platinum winners are:
The full list of finalists is available on the Okanagan Wine Festivals website at www.thewinefestivals.com
Fort Berens Estate Winery A Golden Lineup LILLOOET, BC – Things have turned golden for Lillooet-based Fort Berens Estate Winery. With the recent release of the results from the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition, all of the signature wines from Fort Berens have now been awarded gold medals.
Rolf de Bruin, co-founder and co-owner of Fort Berens explained, “With the announcement of these most recent awards, all of our signature wines, including our Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Meritage, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir have won a gold medal from a major regional, national or international wine competition.”
Growing grapes and producing award-winning wines have caught many by surprise in a region better known for cowboys and gold mining. Rolf continued, “While it is still a surprise to many, we’ve known for some time that we can grow grapes in Lillooet. We’ve been growing grapes in our vineyard here in Lillooet since 2009 and our viticulture and winemaking teams are passionately handcrafting wines that reflect our Lillooet terroir. In 2014, we won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in BC Wines for our estate-grown Riesling, so we knew the area was well suited for Riesling. Winning a gold medal for all of our signature wines shows that all of the varieties of grapes we grow in Lillooet are performing well and that we can handcraft gold medal wines of distinction that reflect the unique characteristics of our Lillooet terroir.”
While early pioneers to Lillooet panned for gold, today’s new batch of pioneers have re-discovered the bounty of the land in Lillooet in the discovery of treasures for the new millennium. Rolf explained, “While we know that the alpine breezes, hot days and lingering summer sunlight in Lillooet are perfect for growing premium grapes, it’s also really exciting to see a new crop of pioneers that are discovering other bounties of our rich land with the growth of local and organic produce, beef and artisan products including bread. At The Kitchen at Fort Berens, our winery restaurant that overlooks our 20-acre vineyard and the majestic mountain range, all of the richness of these bounties come together with farm-to-table meals that showcase the local food paired with our wines.”
Look for the award-winning wines of Fort Berens at their winery, at government and private liquor stores and restaurants throughout BC and through their Discovery Club Wine Club. The Kitchen at Fort Berens is now open daily for the season for lunch, Friday night tapas, Saturday night dinners and a series of special events.
Fort Berens Estate Winery is a culmination of the dreams, vision and pioneering spirit of several entrepreneurs – Heleen Pannekoek, Rolf de Bruin, Hugh Agro, Sean Harvey, Jason Neal, John McConnell, Dan Barnholden and Patrick Downey. The eight owners of Fort Berens share a common belief in the incredible winemaking potential of the area and a shared vision to make Fort Berens into one of Canada’s leading producers of fine wine. With its vineyards on sage brush covered benchland along the Fraser River at the base of towering mountains,
Fort Berens embraces the spirit of Lillooet. Discover Fort Berens Estate Winery, Lillooet’s first winery, in BC’s newest wine region and explore 150 years of pioneering spirit. For more information, call 1.877.956.7768, visit www.FortBerens.ca, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.