Icewine harvest is finally beginning in Kelowna.
Pickers are patiently waiting for the fruit to fully freeze at Summerhill Pyramid Winery alongside vineyard manager, Brad Thiessen.
Vineyards in Kelowna were hoping to harvest the Canadian classic in December, when some South Okanagan wineries began harvesting, however temperatures have not dropped to the required -8 C.
“We are checking the fruit and it’s not quite frozen yet, it needs to be solid,” said Thiessen.
The fruit must be frozen to harvest icewine because when the water inside the grape freezes, then only the sap and juice can be extracted to make the sweet ice wines.
Thiessen estimates that they have already lost 50 per cent of their harvest due to wildlife and the fruit falling from the vines due to rot. But he says the silver lining is that the best fruit has survived the winter and expects this harvest to be one of the wineries best, once it takes place.
“So much has fallen loose, it’s like survival of the fittest, it will only be the very best concentration of the fruit, we could see better flavour this year,” said Thiessen.
The crew expects they may be harvesting through the night anywhere from three to five days depending on the weather and if temperatures stay low enough through the week.
“Harvest is 100 per cent dependent on where the grapes are at, it’s all up to mother nature at this point,” said Thiessen.
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