What a year this was for grape growing in the Okanagan! Starting with a relatively mild spring, without too much rain, the summer weather was almost perfect, with beautiful warm days, minimal rainfall and no really hot days (over 38 degrees C) that shuts down the vines. The weather continued into the fall, with lots of sun, and not too much rain, allowing the vintners to give the grapes lots of "hang time" to develop the flavours, before picking. With the warmest October on record, most of the grapes were picked at least two weeks earlier than normal.
This combination resulted in what is probably the best year for wines since the Okanagan started making serious wines around 20 years ago. If you're a wine lover or collector, start looking for the 2014 Okanagan and Similkameen wines, starting with the whites about a year from now and the reds anywhere from 2-4 years down the road. I think it will definitely be worth your while!
The fall stayed mild until the beginning of November. Golf was still being played and by that time all the grapes had been ripened and picked. All, that is, except for the grapes that were left for the Okanagan's famous delicacy, icewine. The second week of November, a cold front blew in resulting in the second earliest harvest on record for icewine in the Okanagan, with the harvest starting on November 12 and continuing for the next coulple of days. Icewine grapes have to be picked frozen, with a sustained temperature of minus 8 cegrees C, and a Brix (sugar content) of 35 or higher. With the high quality grapes, combined with the early harvest, the results of this year's harvest should be nothing less than spectacular!