We developed Winter Wine® as an alternative to pure Ice Wine for a number of reasons. First, it is not as syrupy in texture and a lot of wine drinkers don’t enjoy that syrupy texture. Second, we can blend a couple of difference varieties (typically Chardonnay Ice Wine with Verdelet or Riesling late harvest) which makes it fun for me, the winemaker, as I love to blend. And finally, if helps us make a delectable desert wine with a reasonable price point for purchase. We can do this as we use one third ice wine and two thirds late harvest, which helps to balance our risk somewhat.
Part of the reason that Ice Wine is so expensive is that it is a very risky endeavour – it may not get cold enough one winter to produce, birds may eat it, if we are not able to pick until late winter the grapes will have dried out so much as to give little frozen juice.
It is served as a dessert wine, and pairs lovely with ice creams, chocolate mousse, cheese plates and anything sweet but not overly sweet (such as baklava, which pairs better with pure Ice Wine. Most people serve it chilled, but it can be served just slightly chilled or room temperature as well.