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2017 seemed to be a study in contrasts, following the super early onset of the 2016 growing season. Following one of the whitest winters we can remember with tons of late winter and early spring snowfall, budbreak in the vineyard and blossom in orchards tracked typical to late, but seemed super late following the insanely early onset of 2016. Blossom started in our apricots on April 25th, in cherries May 9th and budbreak in the vineyards shortly thereafter.
The spring brought pronounced precipitation. Close to record setting in April and May in Naramata, slowing development in the vineyard and orchard considerably. Lake Okangan hit levels that it never has before, and our bins were put to use by neighbors desperately trying to keep docks in place while lake levels rose. Perhaps the most graphic example of the extreme nature of weather up to this point in 2017, occurred during the last weekend of June when we watched the forest service workers sandbag lakeshore. The next week the province exploded with the Elephant Hill Wildfire … it didn’t rain for 75 days straight … another near record.
The effect of the extreme water followed by heat meant for an intense (and smoke-filled) July and August. Cherries come first and were back again in tonnage after a tough 2015. Harvest began on July 19, and fruit quality was good. Apricots came very shortly thereafter beginning on July 26th, with tonnage down from a heavy set in 2016. Next in came raspberries on August 7th, with juice yield up and sugars down slightly, likely an effect of the spring rain. Black currants came in on August 18th and Crab Apples were picked off our Peanut Farm simultaneously. It was around this point of harvest that we began to note the effect of 0 rainfall and very high temperatures since the end of June. Crab Apples ripened quickly and showed intense color and flavor. Pears too came in early, with the first bins being picked Sept 3rd.
In the midst of our Orchard portfolio harvest, veraison in the vineyard set in early, with the first signs appearing around the 6th of August. Early verasion plus the potentially explosive combination of excess moisture and sudden hot weather generating humid conditions in the vineyard kept our crew on their toes to spot infection and pests. Grapes proceeded to ripen quite quickly with all the hot weather and the vineyard crew was kept extremely busy with tucking and bunch thinning.
Grape harvest began September 25th with of all things, Merlot at our Sideshow Hill Vineyard, and was followed shortly thereafter followed by Cab Franc on the Peanut Farm site. Uncharacteristically, the whites came in after the reds and harvest wrapped with our Chardonnay pick on October 24th. The long, hot summer produced smaller berries with intense flavor. The vineyard cropped itself fairly low this year which will mean smaller production out of the 2017 vintage and also translates into lots of rich fruit, complexity and generous concentration.
Snow and -17 hit the valley November 4th, making for a cold week of processing apples, which thankfully we got off the trees in advance.
Overall the quality of all the fruits came in beautifully, and in particular the later ripening – crab apples through to our grapes showed concentrated flavor development and sugars, likely the effect of the extremely dry summer conditions.
Terry David Mulligan on Naramata Bench Wines. Del is after minute 3 ...
VANCOUVER MAGAZINE AWARDS 2014
Yuppers - we are doing the elephant dance again!
For the fifth year running Elephant Island Winery has made the "100 Best Buys" list ... including international wines: 2013 Framboise. For full results, go to www.vanmag.com. Swweeet!
Georgia Straight features the Naramata Bench! Have fun reading and following up in person this year - see you for a tasting.
The Tasting Barn is open daily beginning April 1st from 12 to 5 pm - even on the Easter Weekend!
Come and taste our newly released vintages and give winter the boot.
Beginning May 1st we assume regular hours and are open 10:30-6:00 daily.
The Tasting Barn at Elephant Island will be open with tasty treats and Christmas spirit on tap.
Coinciding with the Naramata Heritage Inn Artisan Faire, Naramata Bench wineries will throw open their doors and pay all your wine investments on December 1st forward. 10% of all sales (including internet) on December 1st will be donated to Penticton & District Community Resources Society, and in particular the Family Assistance Fund. This fund helps local families in need with what are quite often very basic and humble requests during the holidays.
Pop by and get the Christmas love started.
$10,645.03 was donated this week from the sales of the 2009 Vintage The Little King Sparkling Wine to the BC Children's Hospital. This brings the total amount raised from the sale of the Little King since 2002, to in excess of $70,000.
The funds from the 2009 vintage will go specifically to fund the OutPEAK Progam at BC Children's Hospital. OutPEAK provides pediatric nurses throughout all parts of BC with access to new knowledge and skills, which in turn means better care for kids in all corners of BC.
An elephant-sized hug to all those that love and support The Little King.
May 25, 2018
November 16, 2017
June 23, 2017