Autumn is the best time to visit the Okanagan because of the amazing colours that grace our mountains and vineyards. The elevated peaks are dusted white with the promise of snow to come. The trails and orchards adorn the most beautiful colours of yellows and ruby red. It’s a sight that rivals the countryside of any autumn in Maine.
This year, with the encouragement of my Instagram readers, I decided to do head out into the urban areas of Kelowna with my Gimbal and video some of the gorgeous scenes of my home town. Kelowna, in case you do not know, is located in the central Okanagan and is the largest town within the valley. We have approximately 18, soon to be 19, wineries and keep in mind I am not including West Kelowna.
Warm sweaters grace my shoulders now as I drive by local vineyards watching grape pickers from all sorts of backgrounds and nationalities prune the vines. CedarCreek for example, hires workers from Mexico with the help of a government approved agency. Jamaicans have been a popular choice for orchards these last few years and I always see locals (also of all nationalities) farming their land. In the Okanagan we are short of workers in all aspects. Help Wanted signs are posted on every business you see in all areas of Kelowna. The cost of living is high and unaffordable for many young people who want to stay after completing college or university. Without getting political after a very revealing election last night, I hope housing gets rectified.
Aside from the local socio-economic atmosphere being that of uncertainty and change, the grapes are also going through a bought of issues. If you visit Kelowna and the Northern Okanagan you’ll find that every winery has their unique Pinot Noir to taste. This is the red that is grown in the central and northern Okanagan because of our ideal geographical location. However, 2019 has been tough for Pinot Noir.
Normally we have a very dry August and September but we’d had an unusual year for weather. Our summer was much cooler than usual and September was riddled with rain. This is causing mold to develop within the Pinot Noir clusters. It’ll be interesting to see how our wine makers deal with the shortage of grapes and how the local Pinot Noir will taste as compared to previous years. It being cooler I would assume the grapes would be more acidic than 2018 and 2017.
This sentiment is echoed with local mobile sommeliers, Tanja and Annika of Red Lips & Wine Sips in their Instagram post below.
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🍇Okanagan Harvest Update 🍇⠀ ⠀ Pinot Noir is suffering due to the amount of rain fall we had in September. We lacked the warmth and sunshine necessary following the rain to dry the grapes. Pinot Noir is a tight cluster and water seeped into the center of the clusters and has caused mold and rot from the inside. Winemakers are predicting much lower yields of Pinot Noir for the 2019 vintage. ⠀ ⠀ There is still a good amount of Riesling, Kerner and other German grape varietals hanging on the vine. These varieties can handle the cool temperatures and large diurnal swings. Most vineyards are hoping for some noble rot development so that they can make a fabulous dessert wine. ⠀ ⠀ Overall we can expect the 2019 vintage to have a higher acid and lower alcohol profile across the board. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ———————-⠀⠀ 🗒 Creating the ultimate Okanagan wine experience⠀⠀ 🍷 Private wine tastings, events and pop ups⠀⠀ ⏰ Available 7 days a week⠀⠀ 🚗 Mobile Sommelier Service⠀⠀ 📲 Book your private wine tasting today at www.redlipsandwinesips.ca 👈⠀⠀⠀ ⠀
As for me, I am tucking in and enjoying the crisp air and my migration to red wines for the winter. Don’t get me wrong, I will still enjoy my local sparkling wine as often as I can but I have been appreciating our local Pint Noir and Syrah selections.
What do you drink in the Autumn and Winter months?
The apple and pear orchards, two other popular fruits that are the envy of Canada, have had an excellent year. I decided to capture the apples being picked next door to the vineyards in the East Kelowna Bench – an area that is striving to become its own sub-appellation popular for growing Pinot Noir and Riesling varietals.
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