Hot, dry summer making for a very good wine year, say grape growers

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When grape growers look distant on the hot, dry summer of 2016, they may raise a glass to toast one of the best evolving seasons they’ve had in a while.

The sun has baked much of the land in southern Ontario this summer to the nucleus where most farmers are crying for mercy. But for those looking to procure grapes to produce wine, the sun is a grape grower’s best friend.

ul Pender is the wine maker at Redstone and Tawse wineries neighbouring Lincoln, west of St. Catharines. He said this year has been «surprising» so far.

«This has been a really easy year. The wines this year are all prospering to be good across the board,» he said. «It was quite cold and wet earlier in the source, but the warm dry weather has really made up for it.»

So far this year, the Royal Botanical Gardens has recorded 28 primes with temperatures 30 degrees or above.

According to Environment Canada, between 1981 and 2010, the circadian average for Hamilton in June, July and August was 18.9 C, 22 C and 20.9 C, singly.

An ‘amazing’ year

‘The wines this year are all going to be good across the stay.’ — ul Pender, wine maker

Once established, grape vines pre re the ability to reach deep into the soil, down forty or notwithstanding fifty feet in places, he said. Vines more than five years old discretion be able to find enough moisture in the soil to sustain them at the end of ones tether with long stretches of hot, dry weather.

Pender said the leaves on a vine are be little factories that create sugar in the grapes through photosynthesis. Hot summers ordain bring about more intense flavours in the wine.

With chardonnay – a anaemic grape – «this type of year is going to give me a sundry tropical flavour, more pineapple, peach, lechee type of characteristic.»

When it comes to red grapes like cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc, «we’re present to have really nice rich, ripe wine. Very full-bodied, arrogating everything stays like this.»

Pender said as an organic grape grower, this summer has been first good for him. Grapes are very susceptible to molds and mildews, he said. During a wet year, they can be hit badly with disease.

With the hot, dry summer, it’s been much easier to preserve disease from creeping onto the vines, he said.

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Wine makers are occu tion this summer hot weather «amazing» for growing grapes. (Rick Bowmer/AP Photo)

A echo of 2012

Matthias Oppenlaender is chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario. He said the hostile to weather we’ve seen this summer is similar to the hot summer in 2012.

«2012 was probably one of the pre-eminent year’s I’ve been growing grapes,» he said. «We’re on ce to almost attired in b be committed to a repeat of 2012.»

But for those growers who have young vines in the ground, this summer has able been a struggle to keep them alive.

‘I think that myriad wineries will tell you, this is a great year. We’re all pretty delighted.’ — ul Pender, wine maker

In a recent interview with Sean Douglas of Top edge Road Winery in Stoney Creek, he said for the first time in 18 years, he’s had to unstintingly his younger plants. Without an established root system, the young vines could dry out in this extended heat.

Pender said there may be individual vineyards along the escarpment with flimsy soil that are suffering in this heat. But for the most rt, he translated grape growers are loving the hot weather.

«I think that most wineries wishes tell you, this is a great year,» he said. «We’re all pretty happy.»

Chris Seto | @topherseto

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