Top 10 cool climate wine regions

8. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Okanagan Falls

GST: 15.1

Plantings: 3,500 ha

Main grapes: 15% Merlot, 10% Pinot Gris, 8% Chardonnay 7% Pinot Noir

The north-south Okanagan valley stretches some 120 miles, between the 50° and 49° latitude north, with “desert conditions in the south and cooler climate as you head north”, said Laura Kittmer, media relations manager for the British Columbia Wine Institute.

Lake Okanagan reduces frost risk in the northernmost sub-region of West Kelowna/Kelowna, and here the top cultivars are recognisably those of cool climates: Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer and Riesling. By comparison the southerly Black Sage-Osoyoos sub-region has temperatures not dissimilar to that of the Médoc or Napa Valley.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery is one of a handful that have a sparkling wine focus. Their CEO, Ezra Cipes said their Kelowna vineyard is “largely dedicated to sparkling wine, and our prestige cuvées are always sourced from this estate vineyard.”

Icewine is also made in the Okanagan valley. “Icewine harvest in the Okanagan can begin as early as November or as late as January with temperatures averaging between -8°C to -14°C”, added Kittmer.

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