Harvest is all wrapped up
2021 was marked by an abundance of early-season heat, with more moderate temperatures later in the summer and into the fall. Budbreak timing was average with most varieties budding out around the first week of May. The spring was the driest on record for the South Thompson region, with none of the late May or June rain that we normally get. Temperatures were moderate until the third week of June when most of British Columbia went through an unprecedented heatwave.
Kamloops and the South Thompson broke numerous temperature records, and the thermometer at the winery read 47 degrees for a few days during the last week of June. Unfortunately, these dry and hot conditions created extreme fire conditions, and the rest of the season until September was marked by smoke throughout the southern half of British Columbia. Even with the smoke cover reducing available sunlight, we had our earliest start to harvest ever on August 18th, as well as (by far) our earliest finish ever, with the last grapes being picked on October 7th. 10 years ago it was almost unheard of to even START harvest before October in B.C. We began harvest by picking Marquette and finished with Merlot.
Due to the dry early season conditions when cluster size is determined, as well as the extreme heat during berry formation, both clusters and berries were smaller than normal this year and yields were very low in the South Thompson, Similkameen, and Okanagan. As a hot season with small berries, expect concentrated and tannic reds, along with flavour intensity to the whites.
It was definitely a season with its challenges because of the smoke and the heatwaves, but are seeing good flavour concentration and are looking forward to bottling our first 2021 vintages wines in early 2022.