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Second Earliest Okanagan Icewine Harvest

KELOWNA – The annual icewine harvest is off to a very early start in the Okanagan.

The cold temperatures have prompted a handful of wineries throughout the valley to pick grapes on the second earliest day on record.

According to the BC Wine Institute, the earliest harvest on record in British Columbia was November 5, 2003.

The required temperature to pick icewine grapes must  be minus 8 degrees or colder.

At Tantalus Vineyards in Kelowna, the grape picking started at 4 a.m. on Thursday.

Thirteen workers picked three tons of grapes in the course of four hours.

Tantalus winemaker David Paterson says the early harvest isn’t just about getting the wine made sooner, he believes it impacts the taste and quality of the wine.

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“We are really getting pristine grapes and really capturing the vintage and concentrating that by freezing them so early,” says Paterson.

There are 29 wineries registered with the BC Wine Authority to pick an estimated 931 tons of icewine grapes on an estimated 235 acres.

 

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