Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ice Wine

Ice Wine vines @ Inniskillin
I first learned about Ice Wine on a trip to the wineries on Niagara on the Lake while visiting the Falls with my family. It's funny, I went to school for 4 years in Buffalo, NY and visited Niagara Falls Canada quite often but never ventured past the falls.  Little did I know about 3 miles down the road is Niagara on the Lake, a cute town and 22 wineries. Many years later with kids in tow we stayed in this cute town and visited the wineries of course after we saw the Falls. It was the girl in the tasting room at Jackson-Triggs who educated us on the entire process of the ice wine harvest.

When the grapes are harvested for ice wine, it is usually done in the middle of the night between the hours of midnight and 5am.  The frozen grapes must be harvested and crushed before the sun and temperature rise.  She said when it is decided to harvest, a phone chain is started.  Everyone arrives at the vineyard around 11pm and 12am and the harvest begins. This was a few years ago, so I would tend to think it is still done today.

Ice Wine harvest @ Brotherhood Winery
In the Hudson Valley it is rare that a vineyard will harvest grapes in December or January for ice wine.  Last year Brotherhood Winery did just that with Riesling from their vineyard in Hudson, New York.  I was fortunate enough to be there for the harvest.  They did harvest the grapes during the day, but who am I to question it, it was pretty cold out!

I had just left the vineyard around 11am when the videographer arrived.  He did a very nice job with the video below of Brotherhood's Ice Wine. I believe they just released the wine and it is available in the tasting room.  I will have to get over there to get a bottle for review.


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