Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Drought 2022 New Data

So now that the season is over and we are into late fall there is some data that has come out that plots the 2022 drought across Canada. So to be clear there was drought in some areas of Canada and not in others and really year over year this is the case. So places get rain or more rain than usual and other places get less rain than usual or in our case - No rain for over 4 monthes.

The Manitoba Cooperators agricultural news paper published an excellent map that shows the areas and severity of drought across Canada. In our last blog we discussed the harvest and about the drought and the impact the drought had on some of the grapes this year.

For the most part the grape varieties did ok but some vines really suffered and that impacted the quality of grape and even disrupted the ripening. As always when we have an unuasual event we learn and adjust and while we will adjust pruning on some varieties, we now know that Arrow Lakes Vineyard is parked on some remarkably deep and moisture retentive soil.


The map here shows the drought areas in Canada for the 2022 season and the red areas on the map are zones of extreme drought. Arrow Lakes Vineyard is located in the largest red area in the south west quadrant of British Columbia. We have added a expanded view section, with a yellow star, to show where we placed on the drough map.

Remarkably, no rain and beyond tinder dry but hardly any forest fires in our area this year - bit of a silver lining but for the most part its the passing rainstorms and lightning that are responsible for the majority of forest fires. So goes to say, no rain, no storms, no fires.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Harvest 2022 and the Big Drought

 It is truely an amazing thing growing grapes year to year and watching the subtle and not so subtle differences in grape quality as a function of mother natures influences.

And there it is, mother natures influences pretty much everything and this year was yet another remarkable year that was like no other in the 15 years weve been growing. 2022 started with the coolest May we ever recorded and a cool June as well with an extreme delay in flowering extending into the second week of July!!

Our season usually ends with a frost in the first 7 days or so of October and with that in mind it was hard to imaging that anything but the earliest varieties would ripen. So we were counting on the L'Acadie Blanc and the Evangeline to come through as well as the Leon millot, but Marechal Foch would be a challenge at best as that leaves only about 85 days to get to a low level of ripeness.

Here is L'Acadie at harvest

Given those parameters we cut back both canes and fruit early in the season to give the grapes a fighting chance to ripen. And for the most part they turned out ok. What we did not expect was the really good heat in the rest of July, August, September and October - but what we also had was drought - worst drought in 15 years and to this day we have not had rain at the vineyard since July 6th, so we are nearly 4 monthes without rain. Here is the other thing...we havent had a frost yet as of November 1st!! Crazy year to say the least.

Despite our best efforts to reduce crop load of both canes and fruit we noticed the Marechal Foch was not ripening as fast as the Leon Milot..in side by side rows with the same crop load. Marechal Foch seemed to be less able to withstand the droughty conditions and by late September we noticed there was a 3 point gap between the Leon millot Brix and marechal Foch brix accumulation. - the Foch  vines were shutting down. As a result they were not going to reach an acceptable sugar content and tapped out at approximately 17 brix with a 15 to 19 brix spectrum depending on the location of vines in the vineyard.

So we will adapt our pruning and bud counts for future years, leaning for fewer canes but retaining more clusters that can be trimmed back if  similar condition prevail.

In the end, the L'Acadie and Evangeline were harvested October 2 and were at 18 and 19 brix respectively..pretty good all in all. We harvested the limited amounts of Leon Millo on October 10th at about 19 brix also, which was good...and yet we could have left those another week.

Some highlights were the new side netting and equipment worked excellent, the white grapes are comming on strong and the newly planted vines came through the drought ok as well. Already looking forward to next season!