Ice Wine Harvest
The thermometer dropped just low enough on Tuesday night that we were able to pick our ice wine grapes on Wednesday morning. We started early, trying to get the frozen grapes in as quickly as possible, and while it was still cold. Then we started pressing immediately– the grapes need to be still frozen when we press.
Here’s what happens:
The juice in every grape berry naturally contains a certain amount of water. When the grapes are left on the vine till about 18°F, most of that water separates from the rest of the juice and makes a pure water ice crystal within each grape.
When we press that fruit, the water (now in solid, since it’s ice) stays in the press basket with the skins and the seeds. The juice that is pressed out, since it is missing a lot of water, has concentrated flavor and concentrated sugar.
We ferment it into Nightfires, an incredibly rich, sweet dessert wine. Look for the wine in May 2014.
Click on the first thumbnail below for a slideshow.