Mother Nature gave winemakers a window of weather cold enough to harvest some grapes for icewine very early this morning in Niagara.
Mattias Oppenlaender, chair of the Ontario Grape Growers said the temperature dropped low enough by about 4 a.m. and stayed there until 9 a.m., providing a few hours to harvest the more sensitive grapes, namely Cabernet Franc and Reisling.
Environment Canada reported temperatures between -8 C and -10 C during those hours.
According to Oppenlaender, “It was a good start, there might be a chance tonight and Sunday, and then we’re expecting a longer cold spell to start on Jan. 20.”
He added some of the temperatures at vineyards closer to Lake Ontario didn’t get cold enough, since the lake is a moderating force.
Peller Estates winemaker Katie Dickieson shared the good news with staff today, writing “Early this morning we officially started the 2018 Icewine harvest! We had a relatively short window to harvest but managed to pick and press some Cabernet Franc. We are hopeful for another opportunity … as the forecast looks favourable. The 2019 Niagara Icewine Festival kicks off today so the timing is pretty perfect!”