Wednesday, October 11, 2023


Taking a moment this thanksgiving to say thank-you to those that helped in the harvest and in various other capacities through the year.

Arrow Lakes Vineyard has grown and we would struggle without the assistance of family and friends. This year was particularly difficult as some of our usual family harvest hands were unable to assist due to timing, which was in itself unusual. We also had to harvest over several weeks with multiple deliveries to the winery. 

But we had neighbors, friends (from as far as Winnipeg, and another from just up the road, and yet another returning helper who had previously lent a hand over 10 years ago) and my brother to fill the gap.

 Wishing everyone a happy thanks giving!

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Harvest 2023

We had a great year this year with great production and grape quality. We started harvest 1st week of September with whites and finished with reds on the 30th

The Foch came in at 21-22 brix, the Leon Millot at 22-23 brix - overall great numbers and quality that goes hand in hand with the warmest growing season weve ever had.

St. Croix was a stand out in experimental part of the vineyard comming in at 19.5 brix (usually 17-18 brix) and and 1.5-2 lb per foot of trellis and large juicy grapes (each grape 2× diameter of Marechal Foch) with absolutely no sign of fungus or rot in a year when pretty much all the others varieties showed some impact on these. If we had another 10 days in a normal season this would be a nice grape to grow.

St. Croix below.

Other than that some of brix on the reds came in as follows for harvest of Sept 30 (unless otherwise noted below). Note that we received 1.5 inches of rain on Sept 28 which swelled the grapes, splitting some and also had a very small impact on brix.

Marechal Foch 21.5 

Leon Millot 23 

Castel 25 (Sept 19)

Triompe 22

Lucy Kulhman 22

Marechal Joffre 21

Colmar Precose Noir 24

L'Acadie 22.5 (Sep 19)

Evangeline 19.5 (Sept 7)

Ravat 34 18 (Sept 19)

Petite Milo 22 (Sept 19)

Vandal Cliche 18 (Sept 19)

Foch below...

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Sepetmber Brix

Every year we check the sugars (brix) of the grapes in the first weekend in September, generally somewhere around the 8th-10th. This allows us to estimate when the harvest might start and check on the condition of the grapes, make the nets are solid and keeping the critters out and see if there is any issues of rot.

This year is an unusual year in that everything is so far ahead. So much so that harvest started in the first week of September exactly when we would be normally be making estimates on when harvest may start.

So the Evangeline was harvested at 19 brix. Other grapes are not far behind and many could be harvested now. We needed to net those ones earlier than we did as the birds had already taken alot of them. Here are the numbers for Sept 9.

Marechal Foch 17.8 

Leon Millot 20

Castel 20

Matechal Joffre 20

Lucy Kuhlman 20

Triompe D'Alsace 18.5

Colmar Precose Noir 19

St. Croix 15

L'Acadie Blanc 18.5

Vandal Cliche 17.5

Sovereign Ruby 20

Ravat 34 16.5

Foch below,

Castel below,

L'Acadie Blanc

Thursday, August 24, 2023

August 20 - Big Rain and Way Ahead

 So we are about 7-10 days ahead of normal this year with most of the grapes fully turned and accumulating sugars. 

The Evangeline is furthest ahead as usual and most are quite sweet already. Our 1 vine of Siegerrebe and the grapes on that one are about the same level of ripeness and bith of these are very early varieties. We can pick these in early September this year.

Our Marechal Joffre, Colmar Precose Noir and Lucy Kulhman are all fully turned, dark and getting sweet. Next in the ripeness parade is Leon Millot and Castel followed by the Marechal Foch.

We are all netted up but the birds had already been enjoying the buffet up until now.

We have lucked out with the rain..getting and inch or so around August 9th and then 2.5 inches around August 20/21st. The recent big rains resulted in a bit of splitting on some L'Acadie.

Interesting is the fungal pressure this year. More than any other years and the Evangeline getting hit the hardest of them all but overall the vines are doing good in this respect.

Photos below...Leon Millot followed by Foch and L'Acadie showing some splitting from the rains.

Friday, August 11, 2023

August 9 2023

So as of August 9th the grapes are looking good..and just got about 1 inch of rain the past few days..just in time too as the vines were getting a bit stressed.

The first evidence of veraison was about August 1 and reds started. The evangeline are softening and  sweetening up and good colour development on all the reds. We are about 7-10 days early.



Leon Millot 

L'acadie Blanc

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Early is the Word, July 19

 So here we are July 19th and we are approaching bunch closure on the Foch. This is our benchmark as all of the other varieties are earliers if not a few days then a week. Nice clusters and we can expect some colour on them in the next week or so which will put us very early for veraison.

This goes hand in hand with the extremely earlier bud break and flowering, not to mention big heat in July so far. The down side is there ahas been no reain and no rain in the long range forcast. We'll be getting some water to the vines shortly so the vines don't move into a streesed position, but overall things are looking good.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Early Summer - Big Growth

We are about 10-14 days ahead of normal and the grapes are looking great. We spent the last few days clearing out the late canes and secondary buds that are just flowering now.

The grapes are looking good overall and most varieties have had good fruit set. The whites... l'acadie and Evangeline ...flowered later than the reds and just when we had a week of cooler and rainy days. 

That kind of weather is not the best for flowering and the clusters are not as well filled but still they are pretty good overall.

Vines are healthy the new vines planted this spring are doing good and the vines from last year are doing great. 

Good start to the season so far. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

The Baby Vines are Getting Big

We propegate our own vines from the existing vines in the vineyard. It takes a bit longer than ordering vines in from suppliers but kinda nice to know that all the vines come from the same plants. We also got stiffed by a supplier that went out of business after we provided our payment..which set us back a year. We blogged about the propegation a few years ago. See the links below...

I am Groot - growing baby grape vines

Baby vines ready to plant

There is another reason as well. The vines we grow have this amazing 12-18 inch root system that means they dont need much watering off the start compared to ones purchased that may have 6 inche roots.

This next section that we are filling in is a 2 acre piece and we have a small section left to plant. What you see here are more of the Marechal Foch vines starting thier 2nd year with the old vineyard in the distance. 

Weve got great soil here but its light and prone to erosion so we seed the white clover between every second row is starting to take hold as well. This will help build and maintain the soil and chokes out other weeds. We rotate to the opposite rows after 3-4 years.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Winter - Spring - Summer in a Month

Never seen a start to the year like this one. Mid April we still had snow on the ground. Come May 1st we were about 7-10 days behind and the buds were barely hitting scale crack on some varieties. Come May 21, we were a week ahead and bud break occured in the 2 week period from May 1 to may 15.

Come June 10th we are in full bloom, about 2.5 weeks ahead of normal and the earliest bloom we've ever had. Previously, the earliest bloom was June 15/16 and iflook back to last year we were 8-10 days late in bloom which occured around July 8/9.

Here is the snow on April 10

And here is the grapes flowering June 10 , L'Acadie and Foch (bottom)

Saturday, January 7, 2023

December Deep Freeze

 Yikes! Just what we were hoping wouldnt happen - an intense deep freeze and early in the winter season yet. Thats not good.

Mid December hit the Okanagan and our area with terrible cold..the kind that will set you back a season or two. Yes there was some intense cold with lows in the -30c range experienced from Kamloops to Salmon arm and Vernon to Kelowna. 

That kind of cold will kill the buds and trunks even on some of the varieties grown in those merlot..gamay..pinot noir etc. Whats worse is that the cold hit so early in the winter that the vines were not as yet climatized to full winter hardiness and even the likes of -20c can cause significant bud damage. Unfortunately, alot of vineyards as far south as Summerland and Penticton that have likely had some damage.

While we didnt get the cold that some places did we still hit -26c which is the coldest temp wevecever had. Our previous coldest temperature was -24.5c. Now most of our varieties have cold hardiness to about -30c at max..but they will probably have some damage as this cold spell happened so early in the winter before they would have reached there max cold hardiness.

We see that Nakusp to the north of us hit -22.5c and this is the coldest they have recorded since 1968. 

We also had drought stressed vines so we may have more damage than if the vines were stronger going into winter.

The winter is not close to being over yet but hoping thats the real cold part has gone by.