Icewine harvest underway in BC

The icewine harvest is taking place in British Columbia after the mercury dropped to the requisite -8° centigrade, in what is another early freeze in the Canadian province.

Harvesting this year began on 5 December, which is somewhat early though not as early as last year when freezing temperatures arrived on 5 November.

There have been three pickings in Oliver, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country with temperatures dropping as low as -14°C.

Icewine harvests are not overly common in BC as they are in other parts of Canada so two early years in a row is something of a novelty – and a welcome one.

“Icewine harvest in BC can be as early as November or as late as February,” said Laura Kittmer, media relations manager of the BC Wine Institute.

“Wineries love early harvests as they avoid the risk of losing grapes to challenging weather and hungry animals, and the grapes preserve those pure varietal characters they are looking for.”

So far 135 tonnes have been harvested with another 570 tonnes still to go according to the BC Wine Authority. Seven wineries have been picking so far and 20 overall are registered and authorised to harvest for icewine this year.

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