Summer heat wave is proving the recipe for great Island wines

Summer heat wave is proving the recipe for great Island wines

WATCH: The heat wave that’s taking its toll on Vancouver Island forests and on some of the residents this summer is being welcomed at Island wineries where they say the sun and scorching temperatures are making for superb conditions for grapes. As Skye Ryan reports, over the past four years, record hot summers have resulted in what winemakers call very good years here and this is shaping up to be another one.

Xavier Bonilla has never been prouder of Island wines.

“Island wines have been changing drastically. I mean the bar goes up every year,” said the owner of Cherry Point Estate Wines.

“All of the wineries in the Cowichan Valley and all of the wineries in the Peninsula, in the Island, in general, are changing for the better,” said Bonilla.

The winemaker says the past four years of record hot, dry temperatures have something to do with that.

Even as last season’s wine was being bottled Friday, he was already looking forward to sipping this year’s product that’s just growing like wild on the vines. That’s due to record summer heat again pushes his grapes beyond their past year’s performances.

“The growth is ahead sometimes more than two weeks so it’s very good,” said Bonilla.

“However, we have to pray for a good end of the season,” he said.

That same promising growth is being seen down the Trans-Canada Highway at Venturi-Schulze vineyards, but Michelle Schulze says it won’t lead to wineries planting any new extreme heat varieties just yet.

“We’re getting some of the spikes in the summertime,” said Schulze.

“And that’s been a bit of a difference in the past few years and I have no idea if it’s gonna stay or not. I wouldn’t go out there now and start planting brand new things. Four years is not enough. Forty years is enough for someone like me.”

So with four good years under their belts and in the bottle, wineries will try to keep growing the Island wines brand that is already proving so successful and hope this hot, dry summer weather continues right through to harvest.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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