Ice Wine

While this bitter cold has proven to be difficult for many, ice wine makers have had a great season.
The grapes used for ice wine are usually harvested at the end of January, but because the temperatures plummeted early on this winter, the wineries were able to pick the grapes nearly one month ago.

Grapes can only be harvested when the temperature goes down to at least -8. Brent Livingstone with Pondview Estate Winery says the ideal temperature is anywhere from -8 to -12 degrees celsius, temperatures we sometimes only see in February.

This year, Pondview was able to pick their grapes during the day because its been so cold.

Ice wine expert at Brock University, Debbie Inglis says an early harvest means more ice wine.

“There’s less loss of the grapes from birds and other wildlife, there’s less opportunity for the grapes to break down so we get a much better return on the juice”

A big plus for the region that makes the most ice wine in the world.

Even though the vines are bare now, ice wine makers are still keeping a close eye on the temperature.

Livingstone says these frigid temperatures can actually damage the vines, but only when it gets to -19 or colder.

“It can hurt the bud and it can actually hurt the cane and the truck of the vine.”

Inglis says its too early to tell if the vines in some regions have been damaged enough to impact next years crop.

Brock University sends out alerts to the grape growing community when the temperatures get too low, and theres a high risk of vine damage. Many growers have wind machines that warm up the air around the vineyard, to protect their vines.