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What Is Ice Wine

Ice Wine – Featuring Scott Ota for TV

Ice wine is a sweet wine, usually served with dessert or at the end of a meal, thats made from frozen grapes. Its one of the most labour-intensive wines to make, but the effort that goes into producing it is so worth the taste to wine lovers from around the world.

While frozen grapes are still on the vine at around -7°C , theyre plucked and pressed while theyre still frozen. Canada is the largest producer of ice wine, though you can find it from countries like Germany and Austria, too.

Ice wine typically has about double the sweetness of a classic soda. Because the juice is so sweet, fermentation lasts between 2 to 6 months. Ice wines typically have around a 10 percent ABV.

Ice wine varieties include Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Vidal Blanc and Merlot. A wine can only be labelled as ice wine if it is made from naturally frozen grapes that were harvested from the vine. Wines featuring commercially frozen grapes may be labelled as dessert wine or iced wine.

If you want true ice wine from natural frozen grapes, Niagara Falls is a great place to go.

Quebec City Quebec Canada

While Ontario and British Columbia both produce excellent ice wines, my personal favorites in Canada come from the province of Quebec, especially the scenic, pastoral Ile dOrleans near Quebec City. There are numerous delights sure to satisfy the pickiest oenophile at Vignoble Sainte-Petronille. Stop in for a tasting, or enjoy the free tour and vineyard walk.

Those interested in checking out a larger selection of Canadian ice wines should consider attending some of the countrys well-known festivals, including the Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival, the Niagara Icewine Festival, and the Vancouver International Wine Festival. Other famous Canadian ice wine producers are Peller, Inniskillin, Henry of Pelham, and Jackson-Triggs.

What Is Ice Cider

Ice Cider is a premium dessert style cider that makes a delicious ending to any meal! Weve been making world class ice ciders here in far Northern Vermont since the harvest of 2007.

Our ice ciders are:

  • Delicious, with concentrated sweetness balanced by a backbone of acidity that keeps them from being cloying and makes you crave that next sip!
  • Local and natural: Our ice ciders are produced from locally grown, fresh heirloom variety apples. The juice is naturally cold-concentrated outdoors in our cold Vermont winter weather. We use only yeast, organic yeast nutrient, and minimal sulfite additions no enzymes, fining agents, color, sugar, or other flavorings or preservatives are used or added.
  • Fantastic with cheese, as dessert-in-a-glass, or accompanying dessert, or just to sip in front of a tv screen or a fire
  • World-renowned: 4 Best in Class winners, Good Food Award winners, Rate Beer Best, San Francisco Chronicle Gold Medal, and more. Recommended in Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, Serious Drinks, The Art of Eating, Martha Stewart.
  • The perfect gift for the wine connoiseur, the person who has everything, anyone you love, or yourself!

It takes us anywhere from 1 3 years to produce an ice cider, and over 8lbs. of apples for one beautiful 375ml bottle!

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Door County Wisconsin United States

Wisconsins Door County, the jagged, picturesque peninsula that juts out into Green Bay and Lake Michigan, is a regular producer of ice wine. The region is a convenient drive from larger cities like Milwaukee and Chicago. Try the ice wine offerings at Door 44 Winery in Sturgeon Bay, which are grown nearby at sister winery Parallel 44. This region is one of just a few that are cold enough to produce ice wine every year it is part of the Wisconsin Ledge American Viticultural Area . A nearby winery that also produces ice wine is the Trout Springs Winery in Greenleaf, Wisconsin its also in the Wisconsin Ledge AVA.

Great Ice Wines To Warm Your Winter


Ice wine might terrify. That sleek little bottle. The higher price tag. The legend of lurking sweetness. But if youre avoiding ice wine out of intimidation, financial or saccharine, avoid no longer. Its time to bask in the balanced sweetness of this seasonal viticultural miracle.

Or accident, depending on what you believe of history . However it began, ice wine is now part of the global viticultural cannon, produced in Germany and Austria as well as Canada, New Yorks Finger Lakes region, and even Michigan.

The majority of ice wine produced in the world comes from the great national icebox that is Canada. And thats no surprise, since ice wine depends on consistent, reliably cold temps . In fact, Germany and Austria may actually skip ice wine season if the winter doesnt seem like itll be cold enough, and thats because grapes need to reach about 17 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point, most of the water will crystallize out, leaving maybe a tenth of the liquid with all the concentrated sweetness, acidity, and flavor. Basically grape super juice.

*In the U.S., Canada, Austria, and Germany, those wineries cant legally call their product ice wine, which is why youll see names like iced wine and icebox wine. Not necessarily a worse product, but remember, time on the vine is time to develop character.

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Want To Try Authentic Ice Wine Book A Niagara Falls Trip

Sampling ice wine is one of the most fun Niagara Falls activities you can do. With so many spectacular Niagara Falls wineries offering ice wine experiences, its easy to build your own Niagara Falls wine trail day and sample them all.

First things first with a visit to Niagara Falls book your stay. The Sheraton Fallsview Hotel is happy to help you plan your ice wine visit, with help for transportation and anything else you need. Book a Niagara Falls vacation.

The Best Ice Wines Come Out Of Germany Austria Canada And The United States And Come From Grapes Of The Riesling Gewrztraminer Vidal Blanc Sylvaner And Even Cabernet Franc Varieties

Ice Wines, or Eisweins if youre in Europe, are made when the winemaker leaves the grapes on the vine until temperatures drop below 19.4 or 17.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This process causes the water in the grape to freeze, while the sugars do not, to make a more concentrated, sweet flavored wine. The best ice wines come out of Germany, Austria, Canada and the United States, and come from grapes of the Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Vidal Blanc, Sylvaner and even Cabernet Franc varieties but because only a few countries produce it, ice wine tends to be more expensive and sold in smaller quantities. As a resident of New York, you are more likely to find a wider selection of American and Canadian varieties simply because of distribution technicalities.


Alcohol content can vary from 6% to 13% depending on the country of origin, because of its sweet nature, ice wine is served in small amounts with dessert and sometimes even consumed as dessert. Its composed of fruity flavors like tangerine or lemon and accompanied by a sweet, floral aroma like honey or honeysuckle.

  • Vibrant and rich, the 2010 Sheldrake Point Ice Wine comes out of the Finger Lakes region in New York. A winner of 13 awards since 2012, this elegant and rich wine brings delicate and complex flavors of peach, lemon and orange peel for a pure and smooth finish. $60, Finger Lakes, NY

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What Is Ice Wine And How Is It Made

Ice wine is made with late harvest grapes which are frozen right on the vine. The frozen grapes are loaded into the press and the juice, which is incredibly sweet, is harvested to make the wine. The fermentation process takes around three to six months, with a residual sweetness thats about twice as sugary as a can of Coke.

The ice wine process doesnt yield as much juice as traditional winemaking processes, so its significantly more expensive to produce. You should expect to pay about $30 per bottle for a decent ice wine.

Most ice wine is made from Gewürztraminer, Chenic Blanc, Riesling, Merlot and Grüner Veltliner grapes. In order to be a true ice wine, the grapes have to be frozen on the vine, naturallybe sure to check the labels before you buy. If you see a label that says iced wine or dessert wine, the grapes were probably commercially frozen before processing.

Places To Try Ice Wine Natures Sweetest Mistake

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If youve ever enjoyed a dessert wine after a particularly delectable meal, ice wine might be for you. If youre adventurous and like to try new things, ice wine might be for you. If you love sweet wines like moscato, ice wine is definitely for you.

Ice wine was accidentally discovered centuries ago in what is now Germany, where it is known as eiswein. Essentially, when grapes are frozen on the vine, harvested , and then pressed, the resulting beverage is a super-sweet dessert wine known as ice wine. According to Wine Folly, some of the grapes used for this method are cabernet franc, chenin blanc, merlot, riesling, gruner veltliner, and gewurztraminer.

For it to be considered a true ice wine, the grapes must be hand-picked off the frozen vine, not commercially frozen. That means that this wine is only produced during years when its cold enough. That, plus the fact that this method uses far more grapes and requires more labor, means that ice wines are more expensive but theyre worth the money.

There are plenty of places all over the world where you can sample and purchase ice wines. Here are some of the best.

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How Does Ice Wine Taste Compared To Regular Wine

As noted, ice wine is incredibly sweet, so you probably wont want to break this out for a spaghetti or steak dinner. It can have some acidity, but that diminishes as it ages. If you like tartness in your wine, be sure to drink it right away.

If dessert wines like port and sweet Riesling arent your favorite, its probably best to skip the ice wine.

Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine

Inniskillin is a well-known Canadian ice wine producer. They even make a sparkling ice wine! This red ice wine is a fun example of what you can do with this wine category when it comes to red grape varieties. There is virtually no skin contact, so the color comes just from the pressing. Packed with sweet but fresh strawberry and red berry flavors. Yum!

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The 10 Best Ice Wines

A background of ice winesgrapesEberle Winerys Muscat Canelli pineappleBrown Brothers MuscatMagnotta Riesling Ice Wine2002Petit-Vedrines 2002 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine Niagara PeninsulaKruger-Rumpf Riesling Nahe Munsterer Pittersberg IcewineCave Springs Cellars Riesling Icewine Niagara PeninsulaParadise Ranch Riesling Ice WinekiwiCovey Run Riesling Ice Wine

With this label, you can be sure that the grapes used to make the particular product are handpicked in subzero temperatures in their natural setting. These frozen grapes are then processed while still in the freezing temperatures to ensure that the frozen ice crystals remain inside.Ice wines tend to be better and have a richer taste when they are able to keep their natural acidity in addition to tasting sweet. The Riesling variety of wine is the most common ice wine because of its sweet taste and unique flavors, but some companies are beginning to experiment with making red ice wines. Whatever flavors you enjoy, there is sure to be a dessert wine that will be pleasing to your taste buds. Try some different bottles and different varieties on your way to finding the best ice wine for you.

Its Like Drinking Liquid Gold


Since the naturally occurring sugars in the grapes do not freeze, the result from pressing the frozen grapes is small amounts of super concentrated juice. Ice wine has a characteristic refreshing sweetness, balanced by high acidity.

The making of ice wine can be labor intensive. Since frost and other natural risk factors can damage the harvest, production typically results in small amounts of wine. This is why real ice wine tends to be more expensive than other dessert wines, and is sold in smaller bottles.

The cold temperatures along the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario in New York State during the winter months can produce some excellent ice wines. Several of our wineries have ice wine available, please visit their websites for more information and availability.

Niagara Wine Trail, USA

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How Is Ice Wine Made

To make ice wine, the winemaker leaves the grapes on the vine, long after traditional has ended, hoping neither rain nor hungry wildlife gets the grapes first. As soon as the temperature drops sufficiently and the grapes freeze, the grapes must be picked before dawn, and pressed before they thaw. Because much of the water in the grapes is frozen, the pressed juice is concentrated, rich in flavor and high in sugar and acidity.

Leavenworth Washington United States

This cute Bavarian-style village in Washington is a winning destination for many reasons. First, its just a short drive from Seattle, a major airport hub. Second, it has a rustic winery that also happens to craft ice wines. Icicle Ridge Winery has been producing wine since 2000. With both a downtown Leavenworth tasting room and the aforementioned log cabin in nearby Peshastin, visitors can enjoy ice wine in two different settings.

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Weingut Markus Huber 2012 Berg Riesling Eiswein

Eiswein doesnt take up much turf on the Austrian winemaking landscape, but what it produces can be ridiculously good, like this bustingly-ripe pick from Markus Huber. Nectar-level honey but still fresh tasting, with fruit to spare. A splurge, but also capable of aging for at least a couple of years.

Peller Estates Signatures Series Cabernet Franc

Wait over for New York state’s ice wine harvest / Laura Sant

This red ice wine from Peller Estates, in Canadas Niagara region, is made of 100% cabernet franc. As you might expect given the grape, bold red berries, rhubarb and pomegranate are a few of the flavors youll find here. While ice wines tend to pair well with spicy cuisine and desserts, this is a great candidate for pairing with salty olives and cheeses.

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The Time Is Ripe To Discover Ice Wine

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Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the bestproducts youcan learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. / Laura Sant

Ice wine is the perfect special occasion glass. Thanks to its syrupy full-bodied consistency and rich liquid-gold hue, the dessert wine is thought of as being deeply indulgent, despite being lower in alcohol than most wines, at around 10% ABV.

Squeezing frozen grapes into small but sweet concentrations is a technique dating as far back as ancient Rome. Germany has called it a homegrown delicacy since the late 18th century, and in North America, the style seems to have caught on in the 1970s, sparked by a German in Canadas Okanagan Valley.

Once a chance for farmers to save their crops after an unforeseen frost, making ice wine is a dying art. Fewer winemakers are leaving grapes on the vine after harvest, because these days that cold snap can no longer be counted on to come.

In Germany, now the worlds second-largest producer of ice wine after Canada, 2019s warm winter left an unprecedented situation: All but one harvest failed. Due to global warming, the chance of harvesting ice wine grapes at minus 7 degrees Celsius has drastically decreased over the past 10 years, says Ernst Büscher, a spokesperson for the German Wine Institute.

Ice Wine From Canada And New York State

Frozen Cabernet Franc grapes for production of Inniskillin Ice Wine

One of the world’s most unique wines is eiswein from Germany produced from frozen grapes, it is a rare and exotic treat. While eisewein can be made from a few different varieties, it is most famously produced from Riesling, and versions from the most renowned vineyards by the most celebrated producers cost upwards of $150 per half bottle on retail shelves in America.

Given the American spirit, it is no surprise that a few producers in the Finger Lakes District of upper New York State also make a version known as Ice Wine. And as you might expect, given the climate of its far northern location, Canada is also home to some very special examples of Ice Wine.

We spoke with two winemakers about Ice Wine in North America: Matt Cassavaugh, winemaker at Casa Larga, located in the Finger Lakes District, on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment of Lake Ontario, and Bruce Nicholson, of Inniskillin, located on the Niagara Peninsula in the province of Ontario. We wanted to know how Ice Wine is made, what varieties are used, the difficulties involved and other pertinent issues.

Bruce Nicholson, winemaker at Inniskillin


Notes on current releases of Ice Wine from Canada and the Finger Lakes District of New York State at harvest. Most grapes used for table wine at harvest are at 22-25% Brix levels.)

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What Is Ice Wine And How Does It Compare To Regular Wine

Ice winealso known as Eiswein in Germanis a sweet wine that originates from Germany and Austria. Ice wine has become more popular in places like China and Canada over the years, and is slowly making its way to the United States. Heres how to tell the difference between regular wine vs. ice wine in Seymour, WI and what kind of pairings you might enjoy best.

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