SUMMER – A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A BC WINE FARMER
The winemaking lifestyle is a farming lifestyle, of hard-working people with a deep sense of respect for the land supporting the passion of BC’s finest winemakers and farmers.
Summertime in the vineyard is an exciting time of year with warmer weather, longer days, and golden evenings. It’s the perfect time to discover BC wine country. There is more to each beautiful glass of wine then meets the eye, discover how BC local winemakers make each one so unique.
“ The British Columbia wine industry is an amazing place to visit, there’s just so much energy coming out of the vineyard in the summertime. What we produce and put in the glass is something that we can be proud of wherever we take it in the world ”.
– Decoa Harder, Proprietor, ExNihilo Vineyard
August is a time to celebrate Rosé month (because we love it!) discover what’s new and exciting in local BC Rosé wines.
In August, at Save-On-Foods all delicious local BC Rosé wine is on sale. In addition, you’ll receive an extra 10% off 4 or more bottles,
and a further $12 off the purchase of 12 bottles.
At first blush, there’s never been a better time to find something new to love.
Watch episodes of Mijune’s Behind the Wine series, highlighting “A Year in the Life of BC wine”. Featuring seasonal interviews of local BC winemakers.
Summer is a transformative time in the vineyard, great care and attention go into ensuring the energy in the vines during these critical summer months, produces the best quality fruit possible for fall harvest.
In the spring, the vines begin to wake after their winter hibernation. New leaves form and by May new buds emerge. Budbreak is the start of the annual growing season. Though the weather is warming, the chance of a spring frost is always on the mind of the viticulturists as these new buds would easily be damaged and lost for the season.
At the end of spring and into early summer, the grape flowers form and are fertilized. Once fertilized, the flower begins the transformation into a grape, also known as fruit-set. During this time, the weather is critical as poor elements ̶ freezing temperatures, hail, excessive rain ̶ could reduce the fruit-set. In mid-summer, grape clusters appear on the vines and the vine’s canopy is abundant. In order to create optimal conditions for ripening, vineyard staff may start to remove unwanted leaves to allow more exposure to sunlight and will begin to remove fruit from the vines that did not set properly. Commonly referred to as “dropping fruit”.
It’s time for those grapes to meet their maker! The grapes will continue to hang on the vines until the winemakers and viticulturists determine that they are ready to be harvested, waiting for optimal sugar and phenolic ripeness, which means any noticeably bitter flavours have softened.Once the grapes are ready, harvest begins! Typically, this will begin in mid-September and can last into early November. (communications to review/update)
In most wine producing regions, winter is a time for rest. Once harvest is completed, the vines lose their leaves and go into dormancy. Cellars are full of wines resting in tanks or barrel waiting to be bottled. In the vineyard, crews may prune last year’s growth as the grapevines get ready for the new season.
Winter also means Icewine! Although winter is a time for rest for most wineries in BC, some ten to 25 wineries each year produce the liquid gold known as Icewine. To make this renowned treat, vintners must wait until the temperatures plunge below -8°C (17.6°F) before they can harvest the frozen grapes. This can happen any time from November to February.
As part of our look at ‘A Year in the Life of a BC Winegrower,’ view three vineyards leading up to the season’s first big event, bud break.
Look for Gismondi’s Summer video series coming soon.