Seventy-nine-year-old Gary McNutt was beaming Thursday as sunshine lit up the Cowichan grapevines he was busy picking.
“I’ve lived in this beautiful valley for over 50 years,” said McNutt.
“I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
It was a sentiment shared by Xavier Bonilla who owns the 22-acre Cherry Point Winery, McNutt was picking on.
“Harvest time, harvest time is the most important time of the year,” said Bonilla.
“It is the most beautiful time for us.”
This year the frosty cold overnight temperatures that are giving way to sun-drenched days are playing perfectly into the wine harvest across Vancouver Island.
A total of 432 acres from the Comox Valley to the Saanich Peninsula will be harvested and made into world-class wines in the months to come.
“The most important thing is not to have rain,” said Bonilla.
“Rain can really affect the quality of the wine and we’re having beautiful sunny dry days. Perfect, perfect for harvesting.”
The harvest was also well underway at Nanaimo’s Millstone Estate Winery.
“And it looks pretty good in the weather forecast,” said Millstone Estate Winery’s Dale Shortt.
“Frost isn’t really going to affect these grapes we’re not in the Okanogan where they produce ice wine. We can’t do ice wine here it doesn’t get cold enough,” he said.
Yet by the growing awards Island Pinot Noirs, Pinot Grigio’s and Ortega’s are receiving, this region is quickly becoming known for the quality it’s producing in its own unique Island style.