From singing to sweating, 2018 had winemakers feeling a wide range of emotions.
“It was a challenging year,” said Jean Pierre Colas, winemaker at 13th Street Winery. “But there is plenty to look forward to.”
Unexpected warm weather in February caused a quick thaw and flooding in some emerging wine regions. That warmth continued through March signalling an early start to spring. Winter, however, was not quite over yet as April gave us a cold spell that brought snow and ice to the region.
The warm winds of spring finally did arrive in May and heat they did bring. Extreme temperatures were experienced throughout June and July, culminating in heatwaves at the end of August. At this point, thoughts of another “big red” year in the region floated through the dreams of winemakers (and drinkers).
Mother Nature had other ideas.
The dry weather soon subsided bringing thunderstorms and heavy precipitation, an omen of things to come.
The rain was relentless through the harvest months and since the weather stayed warm through most of September and October, the resulting humidity caused anxious moments for growers across the region.
“On a daily basis we needed to make a lot of decisions, to take care of the vineyard,” said Jean Pierre.
Thankfully the growing season was warm and sunny, so early ripening allowed for an early and quick harvest, mitigating the risks involved with rain and humidity during harvest, for some varietals at least.
That warm and wet weather quickly shifted in November as it got cold and dry with temperatures dipping below -8C on Nov. 22, kicking off an early start to the icewine harvest.
Overall, 2018 was a challenging year for winemakers. Additional sorting and picking to maintain quality resulted in lower yields, particularly in pinot gris, riesling, chardonnay and icewine.
However, the above average heat and dry weather allowed for a good level of ripeness in the remaining varietals, and the outlook for wines in this vintage is positive.
“Whites and sparkling are going to be good,” says Jean Pierre, “but with the heat and early harvest, I think 2018 will be a great year for rosé.” Jean Pierre also believes that our cabernet franc from this year will be “incredible.” So, do not worry all you “big red” drinkers, there will be plenty to look forward to for all.