The Complete Guide to Ice Wine


"At this time of year winemaking is usually finished, but for ice wine producers, things are just getting started.

By Tom Jarvis | Posted Saturday, 02-Dec-2017

We have previously written about wines made from botrytis rot-affected grapes, where the mold desiccates the fruit; another way to remove water from a grape is to allow it to be frozen. Because the water freezes more readily than the various sugars, acids, and dissolved solids, when still-frozen grapes are pressed, just a drop or two of concentrated juice is released from each grape.

This juice can be twice as sweet as that for a typical dry wine, with acidity levels similarly elevated. Often, to get the required fully frozen fruit, the grapes are not picked until January and sometimes February – i.e. not in the same year as the vintage appearing on the label. Unsurprisingly, given the climate and weather requirements, the top countries for natural ice wine production are Canada, Germany and Austria. Canada dominates global output; it is the only ice-wine-producing country that is cold enough guarantee an ice wine crop every year, which in turn encourages growers to devote more vineyard space to the style."

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