With temperatures last Thursday dropping to -10C ( -17C with the wind chill), the climate was perfect to begin picking frozen grapes for the 2018/19 Niagara icewine crop.
There are strict parameters that these grapes must follow in order to be called icewine. To extract juice from the frozen grapes, they have to be continuously pressed when the temperature is at a minimum of -8C. This process yields very little juice compared to the usual processing of grapes for wine, which is what makes icewine expensive and the reason it is often referred to as, “Liquid Gold”. The VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) standards committee monitors the processing of icewines and grape growers must have VQA approval to certify their product as icewine.
About half a dozen Niagara-on-the-Lake grape growers sprung into action last Thursday, as many of them believe when you pick early you get more of a fresh-fruit characteristic. Other grape growers who choose to pick later, believe they get an icewine with a baked flavour.
Niagara has a worldwide reputation for the production of these delicious Gold-Metal award-winning dessert wines, and are a must-try when you visit the region.
Niagara Icewine Festival
Grape growers pay tribute to these icewines with a celebration of everything grape on the first three weekends of January: January 11-13, January 18-20 and January 25-27. Perhaps the highlight of the Niagara Icewine Festival is the Northern Lights Icewine Gala to be held at the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls on Friday, January 11th.
About 35 Niagara wineries will show off their best at this black-tie gala: an all-inclusive evening of elegant fine wine and the best in Niagara culinary with a “Northern Lights”. theme.