Ice Wine is produced from grapes frozen on the vine. In Canada, the temperature must reach minus 8ºC and stay there for close to 36 hours to ensure a complete freeze. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine.
Our Chardonnay Ice Wine was picked early in the morning (about 5 am) on January 12th, 2012 at minus 11.3 degrees. Pressed by 7:30 am, it was made from a minimum brix of 48.
Ice Wines are expensive because of the risk involved in leaving grapes on the vine for so long while waiting for the proper temperature. Rot, birds and bears take a heavy toll on the potential crop. Also, it is possible that the freeze will not happen until well into the next year. Additionally, ice wine production requires the availability of a large enough labour force to pick the whole crop within a few hours, on a moment’s notice, on the first morning that is cold enough. This results in relatively small amounts of ice wine being made world-wide, making ice wines generally quite expensive. Canada and Germany are the world’s largest producers of ice wines.