We had an average start-to-bud break for the 2022 growing season, with most varieties budding around the first or second week of May. From there, we had a fairly slow start to the year. Temperatures were cool in May, relatively mild through June, and the first half of July, resulting in delayed flowering.
Around the third week of July, the heat started picking up, and we had very steady hot and dry weather through the remainder of July and August. Above-average temperatures and almost no rainfall characterized September and most of October. We ended up at 1,358 growing degree days (GDD) (April 1st to October 31st), which is considerably more than our 8-year average of 1,182 GDD.
Typically we get very few GDD after the third week of September; however, this year, GDD continued to rise right into the second week of October, providing an extra three weeks of ripening compared to an average year.
The 2022 harvest began on September 6th and ended on October 22nd. The end of harvest was only a day before the first hard frost, so as usual, we are living on the edge here in the South Thompson. The team processed 290 tons of grapes, starting with Marquette and ending with Riesling. It’s still early, but Riesling and Pinot Noir look like standouts for this vintage, though most things are still fermenting.
2022 is the first year we’ve begun to see some patterns emerge in the fruit from the South Thompson. It’s been challenging in the past to respond to the question, “what characterizes South Thompson fruit” when you’ve only got a few vintages of fruit in the rearview mirror. Our winemaker Galen Barnhardt felt our consistency improved this year, and some of the standout features of wines from the past were confirmed in this year’s wines as well. For instance, the lightly honeyed, ginger quality of Lion’s Head Riesling has been present in every vintage, as has the tension on the palate. Interestingly, that same tension can be found in the Riesling from the Monte Creek side, yet the aroma profile is quite different. On the flip side, Pinot Noir from the Monte Creek side has a pronounced floral/rose petal aroma in both the clone 115 and the precoce. The Pinot Noir from the Lion’s Head vineyard has a similar note but is far more subdued, yet there is a spicy nuance to it that isn’t present in the Monte Creek batches.