2022 Vintage Report
2022 Vintage Report
Mother Nature continued to challenge our vineyard and winemaking team in 2022. Despite the challenges, it ended up being another remarkable growing season.
2022 Harvest Highlights
The winter of 2021-22 was cold and harsh with a record low temperature of -25.7 degrees on December 27th. Despite our expectations, the vines ended up showing minimal winter damage, which may have been a combined result of the slow drop in temperatures during December, combined with an atypical (for Lillooet) snow cover. The slow drop in temperature meant that the plants were able to optimally acclimatize to the drop in temperatures and the vines went into deep dormancy, while the snow cover kept the soil temperatures relatively high.
The cold winter was followed by a late and cool spring, and bud break was 2 weeks later than normal. A cloudy and rainy June delayed ripening even further.
Summer was fairly typical for Lillooet. It was hot and dry, although there were only 3 days just above 40 degrees. The temperature was in the mid-to-high 30-degree range for most of the summer. We had little disease pressure and no smoke or fire challenges near the winery. We performed early leaf removal on the east side of the vine rows to get maximal sunlight onto the grape clusters for better ripening.
The weather cooled down only a little in September, with temperatures remaining in the high twenties into October. October was unseasonably warm, giving the grapes an extra 2 weeks of ripening time, which was just what was needed. We got everything optimally ripe including the late ripening varietals. Harvest started on September 12th and wrapped up on November 2nd, a full 14 days later than in 2021.
With our Red Rock Vineyard coming into production, we were able to harvest the highest crop ever from our estate vineyards, and the 2022 vintage also reflects one of the highest percentages of estate grown grapes.
We put a lot of focus on the soil and irrigation in our new Red Rock Vineyard in 2022, and we are really happy with the beautifully balanced grapes from this vineyard. Looking ahead, we expect to increase the amount of estate grown grapes because our Red Rock Vineyard will be at 100% production.
In summary, our 2022 vintage ended up being above our expectations, which was fairly unexpected, given the way the season started. While the season started out late, it also ended later which allowed for everything to ripen optimally.
We would also like to take a moment to celebrate and thank our entire hardworking vineyard and winemaking team lead by our Winemaker Alessandro (Alex) Nel and our Vineyard Manager, Christopher Marquardt for managing through all of the challenges this past year.
What to Expect from our 2022 Vintage
In 2022, Alex continued to make several changes to our winemaking protocols to further raise the quality of the wines. We purchased more seasoned wine barrels this past year, so our barrel program is now where we want it. This will allow for more malolactic fermentation in barrels.
Our 2022 vintage whites, which we will be releasing in the weeks ahead, are elegant with beautiful, fresh acidity, and lovely aromatics. Portions of our Small Lot Dry Riesling and Small Lot Grüner Veltliner went through natural fermentation in neutral barrels, which added richness and fullness to the mouthfeel. Our 100% estate grown Rosé is juicy and luscious, perfect to enjoy this summer. Watch for stylish new bottles for our 2022 Riesling and Rosé. While still very early, the 2022 red wines are soft, rich, and elegant with brilliant colour.
We can’t wait to share our new 2022 vintage wines with you. Stay tuned for more on the release of our 2022 vintage white and Rosé wines in the near future.
The Fort Berens Team