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Cold snap good news for Okanagan winemakers

Ice Wine Harvest

It’s go time for Okanagan vintners who make icewine.  With the temperature dipping to -8 in Kelowna Tuesday night, grape pickers were out in full force.

“We spent a lot of time last night working through the night so half the crew is asleep right now, getting ready for tonight to pick again and the other half is here processing,” winemaker at Summerhill Pyramid winery Eric von Krosigk said.

The call for grape picking came Tuesday evening when it was apparent it would get cold enough.

“They realized 11 p.m. would be a perfect temperature so everyone got the message, ” Summerhill restaurant manager Katherine Miller said. “We all got dressed up and bundled up and we all had buckets and little clippers and started picking grapes.”

The temperature to begin the icewine making process must be at least – 8 so that the water inside the grape remains as ice crystals.

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Icewine accounts for 10 per cent of Summerhill’s business including exports to China. According to the Canadian Vintners Association, icewine represented 29 per cent of total export value ($19.4 million) in 2014.

Canada is recognized as the world’s largest and highest quality producer of icewine.