May’s heat could make this a great year for Vancouver Island wines

May’s heat could make this a great year for Vancouver Island wines

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Spring growth is in overdrive at Nanaimo’s Chateau Wolff vineyard.

Winemaker Matt Riga is thinning shoots, popping from his hundreds of vines to set them on the right track for what is shaping up to be a very good year.

“This could be a really, really good year,” said Riga, owner and winemaker at Chateau Wolff Estate Winery.

“You’re kind of a kid in a candy shop every year.  You sit and you wait, when bud breaks, when is it all gonna happen and then every May, we end up getting this really good blast of heat it seems and everything takes off,” he said.

May has already delivered two big blasts of heat, and potentially record-breaking temperatures are forecast to begin next week.

The heat will bring grapes along quickly and playing perfectly into Vancouver Island winemaker’s plans.

“So far it’s been a great start to the season,” said Riga.

“It’s hot in here,” said Alex Wilson, who is a Vancouver Island Hospitality Management student, completing a co-op at the winery,

“The microclimate, it really supports the grapes growth.”

Riga, who bought the Nanaimo vineyard five years ago, says the trend towards hotter summers is good for Island wines.

Since his nearly 30-year-old vines are well along, the roots have grown deep enough to take the extreme temperatures and droughts that now are becoming the new normal.

“With climate change and whatnot we’re seeing every year is a little bit hotter, which is different,”  he said.

After a brief chance of showers through Sunday, temperatures are set to soar for the week ahead.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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