Niagara wine

Harvest 2017 is — finally — underway in Niagara wine country.

On Niagara’s Short Hills Bench, the first ripe wine grapes of the 2017 harvest were hand-picked from the vine early Monday morning at Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. This is the family owned and operated winery’s 29th harvest.

Ontario wine

“Coming through a couple of smaller vintages, we are excited about the bounty of this year’s crop and the quality of the sparkling wine varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” said Matthew Speck, Vice President of Operations. “This year’s conditions are particularly good for early and mid-season white varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, and reds such as Baco Noir and Merlot. We remain optimistic for the later ripening varieties.”

Following a delayed bloom, this year’s start is 7 days behind the average, but within the expected window for the harvest to begin. Harvest in the hot 2016 vintage was approximately two weeks ahead of 2017.

The first grapes harvested were Pinot Noir (above) followed by Chardonnay for the Cuvée Catharine sparkling wines. Baco Noir and Rosé varietals will be harvested during their typical time frames. The harvest will continue through the end of October, and into November, when later season Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are ready for picking.

The wines from 2017 will be available in market for spring 2018 lead by Rosé, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.