Is it Canadian Icewine, German Eiswein, or Ice Wine?
For centuries, those in the know have referred to it as “Nectar of the Gods.” The spelling depends on where the wine is produced. Canadian icewine is often spelled as a single word “icewine”. But Austrian and German Eiswein uses the European spelling. We’ll use them interchangeably here. No matter how you spell it, Ice Wine is a rare and magnificent wine that you will love.
Generally speaking 'icewine' or 'Eiswein' or even ‘ice wine’ describes rich fruity sweet dessert wine that is made from frozen grapes. Conditions have to be absolutely ideal for the grapes to freeze on the vine.
The origin of Eiswein is not known for sure, but legend has it that the process was discovered accidentally. Vintners generally picked their grapes early in the ripening stage to avoiding any loss due to early rains. Once the rains came, whatever was not harvested would be unsalvageable. One year, the Growers taking a bit of a gamble, left their grapes to ripen extra long. They were unpleasantly surprised with an early frost. The grapes had completely frozen. Faced with the option of losing the crop, or salvaging what they could, they opted for the latter. They picked and pressed all they could all night long. Then they fermented and waited to see what would happen. In the end, they discovered that Nature had not cursed them but rather blessed them with one of the greatest gifts ever uncovered in the history of wine, Ice Wine.
Today it is still a big gamble for a winemaker to produce icewine. It often takes several tries before the weather cooperates. More often than not, the crops are lost in the effort. But the daring growers just keep trying, leaving a few vines out hoping that Nature will bring all of the elements that produce Ice Wine. With some luck the grapes will freeze with the perfect weather conditions while on the vine. If this happens long enough for them to be harvested while temperatures are at precisely –8 and –10 degrees Celsius, things get exciting. Field workers will be summoned, even in the middle of the night to harvest and immediately press the frozen grapes.
When they are pressed while frozen, the water shell is pulled away from the dense rich luscious juice, which provides an unbelievable concentration of flavor. This in turn results in a very small amount of heavenly rich wine.
The German and Austria laws are very strict and state that all of the conditions must be met for the wine to carry the coveted title of Eiswein. We won’t cover all of them here but they include things such as the appearance of the grapes while still on the vine and the natural sugar (a.k.a. brix) content. No sugar coloring or flavoring of any kind may be added to the wine. No other method of making icewine is permitted other than the natural method. No artificial freezing method may be use the term Ice Wine by definition or by label.
It usually comes in “half bottles” of 375ml and can run as much as several hundred dollars for just one. Eiswein and IceWine are considered among the most rare wines in the world. It is not cheap wine. But oh! What an experience. Everyone must try Ice Wine at least once.
Cellar life is extremely long. Most experts would consider it improper to drink one before it has at least a couple of years of age. They will last decades, so take your time.
We a very proud to have a great selection of icewines available to the public at the moment. Each has been individually tasted and evaluated by our panel. We are absolutely sure you will love any that you try. All are 100% satisfaction guaranteed.
Please have a look at our Eiswein/ Ice Wine/ icewine list and feel free to call us with any questions. We look forward to serving you.