Although tourist season is dwindling to a close for wineries in the Okanagan, their busy cellar season is just beginning.
Harvest in the valley started as early as mid-September for some growers in the area, but as the first week of October closes, it’s all hands on deck for vineyard and winery workers.
“October is for sure our busiest month, but that’s to be expected,” said Lyndsay O’Rourke, winemaker and owner of Tightrope Winery in Naramata.
O’Rourke said grapes have been coming in a little later than normal this harvest for the Okanagan, but this may be a result of a shift back to “more average temperatures and weather.”
“Harvest did start a little later this year, it’s been slow to start,” said O’Rourke. “But I think it’s more of an average year; 2014 to 2016 were all quite warm and I think this year is more representative of the average.”
September’s rain and cold weather likely also affected how quickly the grapes in the area ripened. O’Rourke said the smoke cover in August also “slowed things down.”
“When there’s cloud or smoke cover and the temperature goes down, there’s less photosynthesis happening,” said O’Rourke.
Despite these hardships, she is confident this vintage will still produce quality wines.
“I’ve sent off samples to the chemistry lab at UBCO to check for smoke taint, and there was a bit of smoke absorbed but it’s still below a perceptible threshold so it shouldn’t affect the taste.”
O’Rourke also noted there was not much rot in their vineyard despite “dodging the rain through September.”
While the harvest is still just beginning, O’Rourke says wine lovers can be assured the size and quality for the overall 2018 harvest is comparable to other years in the Okanagan.
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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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