Ice Wine harvest 2020: the last frozen grapes are in the cellar
A good four months after the actual 2020 harvest, the last grapes of the treasured ice wine vintage are in the cellar.
Despite the long waiting time, the health of the grapes is sensational, according to producers in Heppenheim, where the Bergstrasse winemakers brought in the last stone-hard frozen Souvignier gris grapes on February 11, 2021 at -11 ° C. The wineries Trenz, Spreitzer, Mohr and Schloss Vollrads in the Rheingau and Weinkontor Edenkoben in the Pfalz were just as pleased about the frosty temperatures.
Good ice wine harvest season
The thermometer fell below the minus seven degree mark required for ice harvest a total of four times this vintage.
At the end of last year, wine producers were able to successfully harvest frozen ice wine grapes in frosty temperatures on the clear night of the full moon, November 30, 2020 in the wine regions of Nahe, Mosel, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Franken and in the Rheingau. In Franconia (Franken), the thermometer for the harvest of the noble sweet delicacy even fell to -12 ° C that day.
The second and third harvest followed in the new year on the 11th and 16th / 17th. January, when vintners were able to bring in frozen grapes at temperatures as low as -10 ° C.
A list of this year's ice wine producers (without claim of completeness) can be found at the end of the text.
At least minus seven degrees
The very good health of the grapes of this year's vintage offered the best conditions for a promising ice wine vintage. Mainly Riesling grapes were harvested, which are particularly suitable for ice wine making due to their later ripeness. But this year Pinot Noir and grapes of the Souvignier gris or Sémillon Blanc varieties were also found as frozen grapes in the cellars of the winemakers. Conditions for an ice wine harvest are: The grapes must be picked and pressed at a temperature of at least -7 ° C. The colder it gets, the higher the concentration effect in the grape berries.
Full of flavour with low alcohol
Ice wines are the crowning glory of a vintage. Their secret lies in the dense concentration of the berry ingredients. In the frosty temperatures, the water in the berries freezes and remains in the wine press. The juice then drips from the wine press as sweet as honey. Musts with such a high sugar content can only be fermented into wine by the yeast with great difficulty. Accordingly, ice wines usually have a very high natural residual sugar content of well over 100 grams per litre, but in contrast to southern European sweet wines, only have a relatively low alcohol content - often only around seven percent by volume. The special thing about these fine wines is that, thanks to the fresh fruit acid, they do not seem cloy despite the enormous residual sweetness. As a rarity and specialty, they also enjoy great international recognition.
Ice wines are great companions on festive occasions and are ideal as an aperitif. As a menu accompaniment, they are recommended with fruity desserts, ice cream or sorbets.
List of this season's Ice Wine Producers (may not be complete).
Video-Archive: Icewine Harvest (only available in German language)