Grape growers on the Upper Bench in both Keremeos and Cawston are reporting a good growing season in the valley so far.
“I’ve had no outstanding issues,” said Robin Ridge’s Tim Cottrill.
“Even the leafhoppers haven’t been as much of an issue this year.”
Cottrill said the biggest problem was finding a balance in water supply to the plants.
“With all the dry, hot weather, I don’t want the plants to get heat stressed,” he said.
Cottrill figures the season is about two weeks advanced compared to last year. He is anticipating an early harvest in all varieties.
“The reds are already beginning to change colour,” he said, “the crop wintered well, we’ve not had any significant problems in the vineyard this year, and it looks like a full crop.”
Down the road in Cawston, at Orofino Winery, proprietors John and Virginia Weber’s wine shop proudly displayed a blackboard listing the five national awards it won at the recent WineAlign 2014 National Wine Awards.
“We entered eight wines and won five awards,” Virginia said, “that placed us as 18th out of 25 top wineries in the country.”
Virginia said they were especially proud of the gold medal awarded to their Home Yard Riesling.
“We focus on our Riesling here at Orofino, in our white categories,” she said.
“Everything is looking good, it’s been consistently hot and sunny. It looks like we should begin picking about mid-September,” said John Weber. This year’s crop wasn’t excessive, which has lessened the need to spend a lot of time thinning, he added.
“It looks really good,” he said, “I’m anticipating a good crop this year.”