Summer Heat in the Vineyards
Hi Sperling Friends,
Here we are, already past the summer solstice. During these long days, the vines grow quickly, showing lush green hues to contrast the drying grasses on the mountainside slopes. As the temperatures on the valley floor warm up, everything is in full bloom and will be setting fruit for the fall harvest. See the stages in our organic Labyrinth Vineyard.
Watch the Labyrinth Grow
If you look closely at the images, you’ll see that flowering is mostly complete and we’re at the fruit set stage of growth. Missing is the wonderful perfume of the multitude of tiny grape flowers that flooded the vineyard air last week. Most of the little, round, will-be berries have lost their flower caps, and now the inflorescences are forming into grapes that will soon swell into grape clusters.
We haven’t had much rain this season and are entering a record-breaking heat wave. This makes for dry growing conditions earlier than normal. One relief is that fungal disease pressure is low, reducing the amount of spraying we have to do. Instead we’re paying attention to excessive dryness. The Okanagan is an arid region so we’re equipped with irrigation but our regenerative agriculture and organic practices are key to conserving water, and maintaining our cool-climate wine characteristics. Organic matter in the soil that we’ve encouraged through compost additions and constant soil cover with clovers, grasses and native plants, absorbs and holds moisture, so that any rainfall or irrigation we provide is channeled into the soil and then held there rather than running off or evaporating in the heat. Bare soil can be 15-25 degrees hotter than soil covered by vines plus cover-crop. Our vineyard on the East Kelowna Slopes is characterized by deep mineral-rich soils, and our old vines have rooted deeply accessing soil nutrients and moisture at depths of over 2 meters.
While we humans and our pets may feel like melting in the 40 degrees Celcius heat, grape vines are adapted to our climate. At approximately 35 degrees Celcius, the vines employ a conservation mechanism that minimises physiological activity and conserves water. However, extended periods of drought, combined with heat stress, can result in wines lacking vibrancy with low acidity.
A feature of our blessed terroir in the Okanagan is an extreme diurnal temperature shift - that’s the difference between night and day temperatures. Thankfully for people and grapevines, nights cool off by as much as 20 degrees from daytime highs. We’ve farmed this site for over 135 years and know that respect and stewardship will be rewarded with wonderful wines. We’ll keep you posted on vineyard developments.
We’d love to welcome you to the winery where you can wander the labyrinth, see the vines for yourself, and of course, enjoy our delicious wines. As restrictions ease, we continue to offer an outdoor experience in the shade - in the middle of the labyrinth, on the veranda, or in the wide-open Heritage room.
It’s not a scientific fact, but we speak from experience when we say summer is more enjoyable in the middle of the vineyard with a cold glass of Rose or Bubbles! Keep in mind that our vineyards are certified organic so you can feel safe knowing you’re not brushing up against, or breathing in, pesticides or herbicides when you visit.
Book your visit online. We strongly recommend making reservations so we can prepare an exceptional and safe tasting experience. Tastings are available daily between 10:30 am and 6:30 pm with a range of 4 different tasting options priced at $10 - $20 per person.
Check out our wine clubs and how you can access our exclusive club wines, special offers and events. Not local or not ready to venture out? Order on-line, with convenient and affordable delivery options.