Winter strengthens its grip on the Similkameen

Snow piling up on valley floors as week begins with back to back snowfalls

A vineyard in the South Okanagan awaits colder temperatures prior to picking the grapes for icewine. Although temperatures have stayed below zero Celsius for several days now

A vineyard in the South Okanagan awaits colder temperatures prior to picking the grapes for icewine. Although temperatures have stayed below zero Celsius for several days now

 

Weather is on many people’s minds this week as the region was hit by snow once again this week.

A winter that started out meek and mild has strengthened its grip on the South Okanagan and Similkameen, as snow continues to accumulate on the two valley floors.

Ski resort operators are reporting their highest accumulations in 20 years on the mountain tops, and the Village of Keremeos struggles to keep up with primary snow removal on the main street.

While temperatures have dipped recently, they have not dropped to the point where ice wine grapes can be harvested. The grapes are required to be picked frozen on the vine and processed while the air temperature is minus eight degrees Celsius or lower. No artificial refrigeration is allowed at any point in the process.

The week of January 13 – 19 is expected to see an outbreak of cooler air over the region, according to an Accuweather long term forecast, perhaps creating the opportunity growers have been waiting for.