Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Thursday, September 24 2020

BC Grape Harvest 2020

By: Anthony Gismondi
Follow the grapes in eight regions across our province.

We have been following the 2020 grape harvest across British Columbia for more than six weeks now.

We hope you are enjoying our vineyard forays at the crucial moment of picking the grapes and that you feel the energy of the harvest in the vineyard, and on the crush pad. At a minimum of 49 degrees north, the warm sunny days of late August and early September quickly give way to cold nights and cool days as winegrowers rush to the finish line in late October and early November. You can sense the urgency to get the crop into the winery while Mother Nature is busy preparing the landscape for winter. Check back through November as we post the final videos in this eight-part series chronicling the end of what will surely be dubbed “The Pandemic Vintage.” To stay in complete touch with the series, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the notification icon to be alerted.

Orofino Vineyards, Similkameen Valley

John and Virginia Weber took a chance on the wild Similkameen Valley two decades ago, and ever since, they have been exploring its unique meso-climates and micro-terroirs in search of authenticity and wines that celebrate their place of origin. We caught up with them on a sunny, cool, windy morning as their loyal crew readied to pick the cabernet sauvignon at Passion Pit Vineyard.  

Howling Bluff Estate Winery - Naramata Bench
Winemaker Luke Smith stands in his Century Block pinot noir vineyard, offering a closer look at his 2020 crop, which is looking very good due to a Goldilocks kind of growing season.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery & Vineyard - Cowichan Valley
Under beautiful sunny skies hedged with a bit Salish Sea fog, and a harvest of one of their pinot gris blocks as a backdrop, owner Paul Brunner and winemaker Bailey Williamson offer insights into the unique soils and the 2020 harvest in the Cowichan Valley. 
Checkmate Artisanal Winery - South Okanagan
Checkmate is perched on the Golden Mile Bench, just south of Oliver in the Okanagan Valley. We catch up with winemaker and general manager Phil McGahan on the crush pad, where he takes us on a tour of the historic site, inside and out. The winery has undergone a complex renovation, begun not long after it was purchased in 2012 by Anthony von Mandl from the founding Combret family. 

Fort Berens Estate Winery – Lillooet

We begin in the newly-minted GI of Lillooet, at Mile Zero of the Gold Rush Trail, on the edge of the Fraser River, an hour and a half north of Whistler and three and a half hours north of Vancouver. Our guide is partner and co-manager, Rolf de Bruin of Fort Berens Estate Winery. He speaks to us from one of the vineyards from which they purchase grapes, called "Fraser Bench", a small family-owned vineyard, just a few kilometers down the Fraser River, on the opposite shore from Fort Berens. 
Written By: ag
Anthony Gismondi
Anthony Gismondi

Anthony Gismondi is a Canadian wine journalist and one of North America's most influential voices in wine. For 30 years he has been the wine columnist for The Vancouver Sun. His twice-weekly column is distributed across Canada through Postmedia Network to 10 million readers. Anthony co-hosts the 20-year-strong BC Food & Wine Radio Show, which is broadcast in seven markets in B.C. and available online everywhere on iHeartRadio.ca. He launched Gismondionwine.com in 1997, attracting one million users a month from 114 countries. It continues to be a valuable resource of full tasting notes and intelligent wine stories and videos for the trade and consumers.