A brand new report says British Columbia’s wine trade is anticipating “catastrophic crop losses” of as much as 99 per cent of typical grape manufacturing attributable to January’s intense chilly snap.

A February report from Wine Growers British Columbia and consulting agency Cascadia Companions says preliminary trade estimates are calling for crops to provide solely one-to-three per cent of typical yields for wine grapes, principally coming from comparatively gentle Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

The ensuing loss in grape and wine manufacturing — described by the report as “an nearly full writeoff of the 2024 classic” — is predicted to set off income losses of as much as $346 million for vineyards and wineries.

The trade can also be anticipating an extra income loss for suppliers, logistic suppliers and distributors of as much as $99 million because of this.

The report says the arctic intrusion that struck the province in January plunged temperatures “properly under” -20 C throughout the Okanagan Valley, the place 86 per cent of B.C.’s winery acreage is situated.

READ ALSO: B.C. cherry growers ‘reeling’ after January cold snap that damaged buds

Wine grape growers say the January chilly snap was particularly damaging as a result of comparatively gentle winter main as much as the deep freeze, a sentiment echoed by different agricultural producers such because the BC Cherry Affiliation.

The Wine Growers’ report says consultants started assessing the injury of the chilly snap shortly after the climate occasion, and the outcomes “confirmed the trade’s worst fears” with “the overwhelming majority” of bud samples exhibiting no indicators of life.”

“Because of the extent of harm, applicable pruning practices will likely be ineffective at mitigating in opposition to extreme crop losses,” the report says.

“Long term impacts on grapevine well being — together with the necessity to replant — are additionally anticipated however can’t be exactly estimated till later within the yr.”

B.C.’s wineries and vineyards say that is the second straight yr the place yields have been broken by extreme chilly climate.

In line with the crop evaluation from the BC Wine Grape Council, the chilly snap within the earlier winter in late 2022 and early 2023 resulted in a 58 per cent discount of grape and wine manufacturing provincewide final yr.

The brand new report warns that this January’s chilly snap is “much more extreme” attributable to its period, the place elements of the North Okanagan skilled greater than 50 cumulative hours under -20 C.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Feb. 15, 2024.


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