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How is Icewine made?

It’s icewine season and what a great season it is for those of us who enjoy and appreciate it.

I am often asked how this wine is made and why it is so expensive.

A wine can only be called icewine if the grapes have been left on the vine to freeze, then picked and pressed while the grapes are still frozen.  With these conditions in mind, you have to realize that the grapes are often left on the vine well past the time most grapes are picked and made into wine.  The grapes for icewine will sit longer on the vine, exposed to all the elements, and will lose some of their juice and moisture.  The result is a lot less juice to come out of each grape.  The other factor to take into consideration is that the grapes need to be picked while still frozen, which means this is often done in the middle of the night/they are often picked in the middle of the night to ensure they stay frozen until they are pressed.

Can you imagine the size of the grape, shriveled and frozen?  It is not very big.

Wine Etiquette At SommEvents

It takes a lot of grapes to fill those tall, slim bottles of icewine. 

Which brings me to the next question I am often asked.  Why are the bottles so small and so expensive?

It takes a very large number of frozen grapes to make icewine.  The grapes are hand-picked in the middle of the night, which requires a lot of people to work at very unusual hours, which in turn adds to the cost.  Then is bottled in half-bottles because it is not consumed like other wines.  When you serve it, do it in small amounts, maybe 1 or 2 ounces (30 to 60 ml), so that the bottle will serve a good number of people. You will get about 12 pours of 1 ounce (30ml) per bottle.  Compare this to a bottle of red wine which will offer 3 people about 2.5 glasses of wine.

If you don’t use all the wine in one evening, you can easily put it in the refrigerator with a good airtight cap and enjoy it for a few consecutive nights. 

For those who don’t like their icewine quite as sweet, try a red, it’s just a little less sweet.  If you really enjoy the sweetness, then you will enjoy a Riesling or most white icewines.

Enjoy the season for icewine in the vineyards this winter and support all those courageous people who work nights in freezing weather to bring us such a great delicacy!

Interested in learning more about wine and how it is made please visit: www.sommevents.com/wine-tours/

Contact SommEvents for a personalized tour this winter season.

Wine Tours At SommEvents in Mississauga


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If you are just beginning to enjoy wine and attend wine tasting events, here is some basic knowledge to help you navigate through the world of wine.  From the most popular types of wines to the different smells and tastes you will experience, knowing what to look for and how to interpret it will really help you develop your own palate.

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Wine Etiquette Class

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