The growing season gave us a mixed bag of challenges here at Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards. A long spring with more than normal rainfall and snowpack turned seemingly overnight into a hot dry summer. This very quickly gave a us a full vibrant green canopy that had us chasing to keep up. Flowering and fruit set went well, setting us up for nice balanced crop levels. As all of BC we saw a lot of smoky days from the wildfires that spread throughout the province. We had a very eventful night where a wildfire started by lightning engulfed Mt Eneas that sits right behind the vineyard and winery. Luckily we came out relatively “unscathed”, albeit slightly paranoid about smoke taint.
September cooled down quickly, with a couple of wet weeks before autumn graced us again with her presence for a nice mild October. Cool autumnal nights and warm days gave us good hang time for flavour development and was perfect for retaining our signature acidity, which will give the wines great backbone and structure.
Harvest at Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards started on September 3rd with our sparkling varieties. They came in with great acidity and freshness. We had the pleasure of a small gap to take a breather, then into the still varieties from our estate vines and the old vines at Mannhardt Vineyards. After some good autumnal hang time and a display of brilliant colours throughout the canopy, the last fruit came in near the end of October for our Meritage blend from Osooyoos. All the stills show good flavour and structure with bright acidity. Now we sit patiently as they age and develop further before going into bottle ready for spring and summer release.
With the growing season behind us, the dark winter months gives us time to regroup and plan for the next growing season. We are excited to be preparing the game-plan for converting the vineyard to organics. The goal is to annually minimise our use of chemical herbicides and to introduce biodiversity into the property. Our compost program is increasing and we look forward to the vines enjoying the extra nutrients this provides. An exciting journey towards organics at Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards.