While the early thaw of 2012 was devastating for the local apple harvest, the grape harvest is giving growers anything but sour grapes.
“I think this will be another vintage year in Ontario,” says Mike Todd, general manager at Coffin Ridge Winery. “2007, 2010 and 2011 were all very good years. Now we’ve got 2012. 2012 was the hottest through the summer, but in Grey county the fall was cool and rainy. Time will tell when we start bottling the wines, but 2012 will be among the best yet.”
While apple trees have roots close to the surface that are effected quickly by temperature change, grape vines have tap roots going deep into the ground. The surprise March heat wave had little effect on the grapes. And a dry season meant the plants concentrated more on growing fruit than leaves, giving the grower smaller grapes, but with higher sugar content. Exactly what a vintner wants.
The Grey County crops are largely harvested at present, and the harvest happened a week or so earlier than what is considered normal. Those grapes are already fermenting.
A later harvest at Georgian Hills is expected in early December for their Vidal Blanc variety. “We’re not allowed to call it ice wine, because we’re not in a recognized growing region,” says Georgian Vineyards assistant winemaker Vanessa McKean. If you want to get in on the picking when the temperatures are just right, get in touch with Georgian Vineyards, they’d love the help!