2021 presented lots of challenges for British Columbia’s vintners. The spring was one of the driest on record with very little rain from late May to the end of June. Temperatures in June climbed up to 47 degrees Celsius. The combination of these things resulted in the grapes maturing faster and earlier than normal. The grape yields were low but the quality was good, producing small, very ripe fruit bursting with flavour. It is hoped that this high concentration of flavour will translate into an excellent, though a low yield vintage.
The wild fires also wreaked havoc on the harvest in some areas, particularly the Thompson and Okanagan Valleys. Fortunately, the worst of the smoke exposure occurred before the grapes began to ripen so the impact is believed to be minimal.
The recent flooding in B.C. has affected all residents either directly or indirectly. With major transportation routes being blocked or damaged, supply chains and mobility have been severely restricted. At this point it is still too early to know what additional burden will be felt by B.C.’s wine industry as a whole because of the flooding.
This year was without a doubt a season with its challenges because of the smoke, heat and floods. However, early indications suggest that the 2021 vintage of British Columbia wines will be very flavourful. Unfortunately for consumers the prices will most likely be higher due to the smaller than normal yields produced. These are some things to keep in mind when the 2021 B. C. vintages begin hitting the store shelves in a year or two.