Summerhill Vineyard Walkabout
Vintage 2017 is right around the corner. The season started late and wet. Budding was about three weeks late and there was quite a bit of mildew pressure. Thankfully Summerhill vineyard manager Willem Semmelink was able to keep all fungal diseases under control using biodynamic preparations and organic sprays. The vineyard looks clean and beautiful!
It was a weird year. The summer was very dry with filtered sunlight through smoke filled skies due to the record breaking wild fires British Columbia suffered. The smoke kept the temperatures hovering around 30 degrees celsius through most of the year, which apparently was perfect for grape maturation. The vines caught up and we are now almost perfectly on a historically normal ripening schedule. And incredibly, the smoke started to clear just as veraison began in our vineyards. After veraison, there is a chance that smoke can taint the character of the wine. Veraison is when the grapes start to change colour and turn from hard little things to soft, juicy berries with softer skin.
Here follows photos of how the various varieties we grow at Summerhill Vineyard are looking on August, 28, 2017:
Riesling is king at Summerhill Vineyard. Our most planted grape is fermented into both sparkling and still wines from subsequent picks.
Pinot Meunier is one of the three classic grapes of Champagne, France. We grow a few rows for our Traditional Cuvee. You can see that veraison is underway but not yet complete.
Gruner Veltliner, the most widely planted white wine grape of Austria, is proving its value in the Okanagan Valley. The grapes are already sweet and some of them even have mature brown seeds, showing that harvest may not be far away.
Pinot Noir grown especially for sparkling wine. The soils under these vines are chalky limestone.
On our highest slope grows Chardonnay. Made into sparkling, still or Icewine, this block is consistently awarded among the wine world's highest honours. The 1991 vintage of Cipes Gabriel (100% Chardonnay) was awarded a gold medal in France, and the 2005 vintage of the same wine won the Denbies Trophy for "Best International Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine" at the 2010 International Wine & Spirit Awards in London, England.