Pickers were busy harvesting pinot noir variety at Langley’s Backyard Vineyard last week. Because of the hot, dry summer weather the grapes were ripe well ahead of schedule this year.

Pickers were busy harvesting pinot noir variety at Langley’s Backyard Vineyard last week. Because of the hot, dry summer weather the grapes were ripe well ahead of schedule this year.

Hot, dry summer brings an early grape harvest in Langley

Pickers at Backyard Vineyards were hurrying last week to get ripe fruit off the vines and into the crusher

Whether it will be the vintage of the century remains to be tasted, but this long and hot summer made for some happy wine grapes, said Backyard Vineyards winemaker James Cambridge.

At Backyard Vineyards in Langley, harvest came three to four weeks early, with pickers rushing to pluck all the grapes off the vines last Wednesday and Thursday.

“The grapes ripened faster this year,” said Cambridge, who comes to Langley from the Okanagan where he worked at several respected wineries, including Summerhill Estate Winery, Le Vieux Pin and LaStella Winery.

“Normally, we harvest in mid-October.”

On Thursday, all the pinot noir variety was cut from the vines and quickly put into the crusher and pressed into 100 per cent pure grape juice destined to become Backyard’s popular bubbly.

Last year the Langley winery collected two tonnes of grapes.

This year, there were five tonnes, all without fungus. Lots of B.C. winemakers are predicting this could be one of the best years for this province’s wine.