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Okanagan Icewine grape harvest begins with cold snap

KELOWNA, B.C. – Frozen grapes are being plucked from Okanagan vines heralding the start of the Icewine harvest for 2015.

Temperatures plummeted Wednesday and held out below -8°C for the day in most vineyards, the prescribed temperature necessary to be able to call the final product Icewine.

Winemakers are giddy because not only is the harvest early, but the growing season was optimal.

“It’s gorgeous,” says Jill Richardson Branby or Sperling Vineyards. “Juice is incredible & the weather’s been perfect!”

The earlier the harvest, the better the harvest as few grapes have dropped to the ground or been consumed by wildlife.

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Some wineries are waiting until midnight, following Biodiversity protocol to begin Icewine harvest at the full moon.

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Canadian Icewine has achieved international acclaim as a “golden nectar”, distinct from regular wine. Parliament also gave Icewine help by enacting a law in 2014 that regulate its harvest, production and labeling.

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