2017 Vintage Review
January 19, 2018
The 2017 vintage got off to a slower start with cool days and a lot of precipitation leading to flood conditions throughout the Valley. Bud break started around 14 days later than either 2015 or 2016, but only a couple of days off of the average of the last 15 years. Once the weather turned we were in for months of hot, dry conditions and the vineyards had no problem catching up, hitting all of the key developmental stages as expected. However, with the drought conditions came several forest fires throughout BC, Washington State and California. The smoke provided a mixed bag; it had the beneficial effect of buffering the heat through the most intense days of the summer helping to moderate the accumulation of sugars and loss of acid, but it also lead to more humid days and increased disease pressure – extreme diligence in the vineyard was rewarded by healthy and clean fruit. Warm days and cool nights signalled the approach of harvest, allowing for great evolution of flavour without any spikes in sugars while maintaining bracing acidity in the fruit.
Harvest brought a few surprises as yields were down across the Valley due in part to small berry size, we came in 10% under estimate, and an early cold spell put the vineyard manager and winemaker on edge. Patience was rewarded however as the temperatures never dropped too low and we were able to hang some fruit well into the fall to really develop flavour and phenolics. The final pick of the season came with a significant snowfall on the horizon, we were fortunate to harvest all fruit just hours before the snow started flying.
In the cellar, the white wines are showing great purity and balance with beautiful, natural acidity. The red wines have amazing phenolic ripeness with balanced natural acidity and lower alcohols – the Holy Grail in winemaking!
Every vintage comes with its own unique character, and 2017 was no different. Careful attention in the vineyard and a steady approach in the cellar yielded some beautiful wines which will continue to amaze for years to come.