2022 Year in review
With no 2020 crop, 2022 was the first year in 29 years that we did not bottle wine. It was a bit heart-wrenching for all of us, but we are grateful that that is all we lost. So many lost a lot more.
After many years of conversations and a 2021 season as a part-time support person, Caston joined the family business full-time. While he will work primarily remotely until he gets his residency, he is looking forward to working closely with Sheldon and learning the family business.
In March, Caston and Heidi welcomed their first into the world: Julia James Richards, aka Jules. She was born happy and healthy at 7lb14oz. The fourth generation is arriving in force! Another wonderful grandchild for the very lucky Sheldon.
Overall, the winter was relatively dry again. That means low rainfall for the past 4 years now. Hopefully, 2023 bring some rain with it. We could definitely use it!
In the meantime, Caston began exploring some new farming practices and ideas. With water shortages and fires always looming, making improvements to our practices wherever we can will be vitally important in the years to come. In late spring, Caston and Sheldon started working with Felix Egerer, a viticulture consultant based out of the Okanagan Valley.
Felix has been utilizing regenerative farming practices at Tantalus Vineyard for over 5 years now and has seen vast improvements in soil and plant health, increase groundwater retention, and ultimately created more resilient vines. This resilience was put to the test in the winter of 2021/2022 when the Okanagan Valley had record-breaking cold weather. The weather was so cold that many growers weren’t sure if the buds on the vines would open in the spring—fortunately, that was not the case. However, when spring did come Tantalus’s vines were noticeably healthier than the surrounding vineyards. The vines grew faster and more rigorously throughout the year. Their crop yields, unlike many in the 2022 season, were virtually unaffected. We were curious before this unfolded, but this was enough for us to truly buy in.
After getting some baseline testing done on soil and sap samples, we decided to start small. We began with some minor adjustments to our watering practices and introduced cover crops in a select section of the vineyard that we felt to be a bit “weaker” than the rest. Over the coming years, we will continue to test our soil and sap with the hope of seeing improvements to the overall health of the farm, and ultimately, the wine!
In the fall, Caston, Heidi, and Jules were able to join Sheldon for the tail end of harvest and spent a couple of months visiting the lucky new grandpa.
All things considered, 2022 was a great year!