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Winter cold snap in B.C. cut 2023 grape crop by up to 56 per cent: growers

KELOWNA, B.C. — Wine growers in British Columbia are calculating their losses from a bitter cold snap in the province last winter that has devastated vineyards. 

Industry representatives are at a Kelowna winery today outlining the affect on vineyards, harvests, revenues and jobs after December’s freeze that saw temperatures in the Okanagan dip to minus 30 C.

Wine Growers B.C. president Miles Prodan says in a statement that the “climate-change related” cold snap had the potential to cut this year’s grape and wine production by between 39 and 56 per cent, with direct revenue losses of up to $145 million.

He cites a grower’s survey that says the impact of the freeze could result in the loss of 381 jobs, representing a 20 per cent reduction in the industry’s workforce. 

Prodan says the survey found that 45 per cent of the Okanagan region’s planted grape crop suffered long-term damage, and 22 per cent of vines needed to be replaced.

He says the grape varieties that sustained the greatest weather-related losses include those used to make Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and that growers suggest people stock up on B.C. wines for the next 24 months. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2023.

The Canadian Press


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