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varieties. In the first place, the varietal names are unknown. Customers have to ask, and may not be willing to experiment with the purchase of wines that have an unfamiliar name and flavour, even if there is a story and tasting notes on the back label.

A second problem is that hybrids often require revised winemaking protocols. During maturation in the critical flavour development stage prior to harvest, many hybrid varieties go through rapid flavour changes. The window for optimal wine character is often narrower than that of vinifera varieties.

Part of the art of winemaking is to recognize when and how to take steps to emphasize varietal character and when to suppress it. The winemaker also has other decisions to make, such as whether to add tannins to some red hybrid wines or develop the fruity flavours in a low tannin style. The long, cool season of a maritime climate presents a completely different set of problems. The grape varieties that do well in that climate typically don’t require winter hardiness but would be considered short-season varieties in warmer climates.

For example, in the Okanagan region, Ortega may ripen in August and have little varietal character, whereas on Vancouver Island or the Fraser Valley, it may not ripen until the end of September and often has delightful fruity character. Some varieties such as Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc can span the two climate regions, depending on the growing site and management strategy. The grower must be aware that many varieties require extra diligence in more humid regions because of the increased risk of mildew infection.

Some varieties that are adapted to the cooler coastal regions are Bacchus, Siegerrebe, Agria, Regent, and Fruhburgunder.Each has its own set of idiosyncracies. Here’s my advice:

• Do your own investigation before you plant instead of listening to hearsay.

• Plant a grape variety that will ripen every year, not just when your site has an exceptionally sunny season.

• Don’t depend on climate change to compensate for bad decisions.


KELOWNA MUSEUM SOCIETY Looking Back By Wayne Wilson W

hen railway lines first took care of transportation needs into and out of the

Okanagan Valley, traffic up and down the valley itself was somewhat more challenging. Initially, sternwheelers plied the waters of the lake on a weekly schedule that moved goods and passengers and shipped tree fruit products north and south and eventually out to ready markets across Canada and beyond. The bottleneck in this internal transportation network was at the narrowest point of Okanagan Lake at Kelowna. By the beginning of the First World War, there was a ferry and barge system in place to get passengers and goods and livestock across the lake, and that technological solution worked reasonably well until after the Second World War.

By the early 1950s, however, it was clear that even regularly-scheduled sailings of the three ferries could not keep up with the growing need to move people and goods north and south. When the Hope-Princeton Highway opened in 1948 and the Okanagan region was accessible to

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2016

even more tourist traffic, the need took on new dimensions.

In the mid 1950s, the provincial government announced a plan to solve the Valley's internal transportation problems with the construction of a unique floating bridge at Kelowna. The photograph here shows construction of the western approach to the new bridge. In 1958, the year of the province's centennial celebrations, the new bridge was opened to traffic. Initially, this was a toll bridge, but those tolls were removed in less than ten years when the capital debt was paid down. Successful agriculture in every region benefits from access to smooth and reliable transportation systems, and within the Okanagan region those benefits finally fell into place in 1958.

If you have photos or artefacts of our rich agricultural heritage, please contact the B. C. Orchard Industry Museum at 778-478-0347. — Wayne Wilson is the former executive-director of the Orchard Industry Museum and the B.C. Wine Museum.

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