Icewine: The Delicious Gift of Winter

  • Frozen grapes yield a delicious drink

    Frozen grapes waiting to be transformed

    Icewine is a type of dessert wine created from grapes frozen while still on the vine. Since the water in the grape has frozen into crystals, the sugars are more concentrated and when pressed create a refreshingly sweet wine that is quite potent.

    Photo courtesy of Dominic Rivard

  • Label Inniskillen wine

    Canadian icewine is world renowned

    Icewine flourished in Ontario when Karl Kaiser of Inniskillin Wines introduced his partner Donald Ziraldo to it in the early 1980s. The company won the Grand Prix trophy in Bordeaux, France, for its 1989 Vidal icewine. Today, Inniskillin is a world leader in the production and selling of icewine.

    Photo courtesy of Vincent Hsu

  • Frozen grapes on vine

    Grapes coming in clean

    Only healthy grapes can be used in icewine. Typically, other dessert wines are made with grapes infected with a fungus called Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. After the first freeze, when the grapes are free of Botrytis, they are said to have “come in clean.”

    Photo courtesy of Dominic Rivard

  • Frozen vineyeard

    Temperature must plummet before harvest

    The Icewine harvest is done when temperatures drop below -10 to -13 degrees Celsius (8 to 10 degrees Farenheit) and the grapes have frozen naturally on the vines.

    Photo courtesy of Martin Cathrae

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