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Ice Wine (Eiswein)

by David on January 2, 2011

What better topic for a cold, January day! While our harvest finished way back in October, many an ice-wine producer is gearing up now. There are sketchy stories told about wine being made from frozen grapes at various times in history, but the official history begins around 1960, in Germany.

It’s amazing what people will do to make a little sweet wine: Trooping out in the dead of winter, in temperatures well below freezing, to harvest grapes that are frozen solid! Are they nuts?!

Then, it’s rush back to the winery to press them while they’re still frozen. Since the water in the grapes has crystallized, what comes out of the press is very sweet juice that’s also quite concentrated in flavor. It makes exquisite dessert wine! Believe it or not, a number of producers believe this process is easier and less costly than making late-harvest wine, another winemaking oddity.

This stuff isn’t going to be cheap. Obviously, the yields are low, but think about the risks! During all those months of waiting for harvest the grapes can be eaten by birds or other wildlife or simply rot! The best-known sources of ice wine are Germany, Austria and Canada. Serve well chilled ;-) More information

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