Humans consume grapes in two distinct forms - solid or liquid. The most common liquid forms are table wines of grape juice. Much less known, hence more unique are Ice wines.
The rarity of Ice wines comes from a precarious and stressful process, taking the Ice wine grapes through four long growing stages before they materialize on our tables as a liquid manna!
1. Growing Season: April - September is a typical growing season in our climate. The plants set on flowers and develop fruit (grapes). The fruit is slowly ripening and sweetening.
2. Dormancy Season: October - November when the grapes are 'left to hang' for several months following the normal harvest. If a freeze does not come quickly enough, the grapes may rot and the crop will be lost. If the freeze is too severe no juice can be extracted. During this period the fruit develops its characteristic flavor and aroma.
3. Concentration Season: November onward - grape flavor intensifies and sugar level grows. By law, the sugar level needs to be at 35% level minimum for a true Ice wine.
4. Freezing & Harvesting: In January - February a heavy pressure is applied to the grapes to melt the ice. The temperature needs to hit 17F. Crushing the grapes produces a concentrated Ice wine grape nectar that goes through the fermentation process, ending as an alcohol beverage.
Last updated February 17, 2017