Harvest 2021 has begun and it’s shaping up to be another great vintage! This year’s grape harvest is earlier than an average year as a result of a hot growing season with our recent heatwave speeding up the ripening process.

Aaron Oppenlaender, Vineyard Operations Manager at Huebel Grapes Estates, says his team was handpicking Pinot Noir grapes this week that are destined for sparkling wine.

“At this site in Niagara-on-the-Lake, we’ve had an early start to the season because of the heat and timely rainfall,” Oppenlaender says. “The plants are just loving the season so far and harvest is looking excellent.”

Huebel Grapes Estates has been growing grapes in Niagara for more than 30 years and supply grapes to several small and large wineries in the area. Last year’s vintage was one of the best growers and winemakers had seen in years, with grapes full of concentrated flavours leading to some great quality wines and we could see the same this year.

“I think this year will be as good as 2020, if not better, but harvest has only just begun,” he says. “We manage vineyards all over Niagara-on-the-Lake and each site has seen different weather patterns. Some have seen enough rain, and some have seen very little to none.”

So, it all depends on September’s weather as white and red wine grapes for table wines will be harvested in the next several weeks.

Written by Britt Dixon
Britt Dixon is a digital creator & social media marketer and loves telling stories about Ontario wine. She teaches others about local wine through her regular #SippingOntario video series, and interviews with winemakers and producers on her social media channels.  Britt also works with wineries producing video content to help them share their stories and grow their brands on social media. She’s a TV expert, freelance writer and contributor, and also loves hosting events and tastings. Britt’s passion for the Ontario wine industry started young. Growing up in Niagara she would pick grapes and make wine with her Papa. She has a Certificate in Ontario Wine through Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute.