Grape growers in Niagara are getting a little nervous tonight. They’ve left almost 4800 tons of grapes on their vines for ice wine this year, but this stretch of above seasonal weather is a cause for concern.
“As we get moving through the winter, it starts to get browner and browner.” And that brownness are the flavours being created for ice wine.
Jamie Slingerland looks over the 43 acres of vidal grapes that will be turned into Pillitteri Estates ice wine. Their ice wine crop this year will be 30% smaller than last year. The reisling had to be turned into table wine because the fall temperatures were too warm.
“If we had warm weather like that for a long time, we’d start getting a little antsy.” They’ve never had a year where their ice wine crop was lost.
Last winter is was so cold they had all the ice wine grapes off by early January, but the last 2 winters were really cold. During the winter of 2013 Niagara growers brought in more than 6700 tonnes of frozen grapes.
Pillitteri Estates winery hopes to harvest 900 tonnes of frozen grapes. Grapes that will be turned into millions of bottles of ice wine.
Even though forecasters are talking about a milder winter, Slingerland is counting on at least a couple of cold spells that make the mercury plunge to -10 celcius.
“Talk to me in February. If we don’t have them off, then I’m going to be pretty concerned.”