What are Ice Wines?


Ice wine is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does. This allows for a more concentrated grape that must be pressed from frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine.

The freezing in ice wines happens before fermentation, not afterward. Ice wine grapes should not be affected by noble rot (a benevolent form of a grey fungus, Botrytis cinerea, affecting wine grapes), at least not to any great degree.

Only healthy grapes kept in good shape until the opportunity arises for an ice harvest. In some extreme cases this harvest can occur after the New Year on a northern hemisphere calendar. This gives ice wine its characteristic refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity. Ice wines are generally quite expensive because the production process is risky and labor-intensive.

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