Hot, dry weather good for Ontario grapes, wine

While some Ontario farmers face smaller or even shriveled crops due to this summer's hot, dry weather, grape farmers in the province are reporting good quality fruit that's ripe for eating and making wine.

Given the quality of 2016's crop, the year should be a good one for winemakers

Hot dry weather that's left many crops across the province parched and depleted has been a boon for grapes, with Ontario's grape farmers reporting a "good, quality crop" that's good for eating and making wine. (Ruby Wong)

The hot and dry conditions that have withered the size and quality of many crops around the province this summer seems to be having a positive effect on Ontario grapes. 
Matthias Oppenlaenaer at his grape farm in Queenston, Ont. (Matthias Oppenlaenaer/Huebel Grapes Estates)

"We're excited, we're looking forward to a good crop," Ontario Grape Growers' Association chair Matthias Oppenlaender said. "The dry conditions are very good for the quality of the grapes out there."

"Grapes are actually deep rooters, so they can withstand a lot more of the dry conditions. We prefer a drier season. It helps us." 

Oppenlaender, who has been growing grapes since 1984 at Huebel Grapes Estates in Queenston, Ont., said that while the size of this year's crop is average, the hot, dry conditions has allowed the vines to grow better quality fruit, fit for eating or making wine. 

"The sugar content usually comes in the grapes and especially in the reds. That's what makes the cellar reds, the really big reds, deep reds that the consumer is looking for," he said. 

Oppenlaender said farmers are now looking forward to harvest, which is likely to begin sometime in the next couple of weeks.