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Bitter Cold This Winter Brings Ideal Ice Wine Season

on 11/02/14 at 9:05 am


imagesWineries around the globe pinpoint the height of the traditional grape harvest season to create palate-pleasing wine.

However, in the ice wine countries (Canada, Austria, Denmark, Romania, Germany and parts of the United States), it’s a game against Mother Nature, hoping that conditions are just right to make the increasingly more popular dessert wine.

Ice wines are a persnickety type of wine, often sweet and made from frozen grapes, that are more expensive due to the meticulous production process. Sometimes growing the perfect ice wine grapes is impossible due to weather, but in upstate New York, this season has been ideal.

Dave Breeden, winemaker at Sheldrake Point Winery, said, “In my 15 years of making wine, I have never harvested this early and been able to collect quality grapes so late.”

The ice wine grape harvest began for Breeden in Ovid, N.Y., as early as Nov. 30 and extended into late January.

“Just today (Jan. 30), I picked my last crop. We’ve been getting that perfect stretch of weather, between 12 F and 18 F to go out in the middle of the night and harvest.”

AccuWeather Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler said, “In November, the Finger Lakes have spent most days around 30 F and most nights around 20 F or single digits going into December.”

Breeden explained that it needs to be cold enough that the grapes are frozen when harvested.