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Time running out for Okanagan ice wine producers

Click to play video: 'Time running out for Okanagan ice wine producers' Time running out for Okanagan ice wine producers
Time running out for Okanagan ice wine producers – Jan 28, 2019

A blanket of fog hovers over Penticton on Saturday.

Temperature: One degree. Balmy for late January, but there are some who wish it gets colder so local wineries can make ice wine.

In order to make it, the grapes have be picked at no less than minus-8 degrees Celsius.

Someone who’s watching the thermometre is Burke Ganton at Red Rooster winery.

“Fog is a little bit unusual for us right now, but certainly we can get this,” said Ganton. “I recall in past years we pulled ice wine in November.

“So we’ve done it in November, we’ve done it in January and we’ve done it other months, too. So it is very much a waiting game.”

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Dave Carson is the winemaker for Jackson Triggs in Oliver. He’s been in the industry since the early 80s and says this mild winter brings back memories.

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“I do remember in 2002 when I was making ice wine for Sumac Ridge when we actually harvested it (ice wine) in March, amazingly enough. But this is very unusual. We don’t like to see this situation for the industry,” Carson said.

The ice wine business in Canada is a big industry. Canada’s wineries produce more than two million bottles of the liquid gold per year worth more than $70 million.

Jackson Triggs got lucky this season, pulling most of its ice wine harvest in early December during a brief cold snap. But Carson says the cut-off date for the other Okanagan wineries is quickly approaching.

“When we talk about cut off points, in my mind, I start thinking around early to mid-February. If you’re not seeing anything happening, the chance of it happening are very small,” Carson said.

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