Unusually Warm Winter Makes Trouble for Ice Wine Harvest
A mild winter in places like Minnesota and New York created problems for ice wine makers. The dessert wine needs very low temperatures to freeze and it was not until a recent cold streak that this was possible. Utica Observer-Dispatch reports that this left many producers with a much smaller harvest than normal.
Along with ski resort operators and snowmobile vendors, the unusually mild winter has been rough on makers of a cold-climate delicacy called ice wine.
The pricey dessert beverage, produced by wineries stretching from Minnesota through New York and in parts of Canada, is revered for its sweetness and often-syrupy texture. It comes from grapes that are picked and pressed while they're still frozen, yielding precious drops of concentrated juice. Winemakers have waited nervously for temperatures to drop low enough to harvest the fruit.
Many were finally able to do so last week, thanks to a short-lived cold snap. But winery operators say the delay resulted in far fewer usable grapes.
"What's ironic about the ice wine harvest is it's one of the few times when people actually say, 'Great, it's going to be bitter cold,'" said Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. "We were kind of twiddling our thumbs, but it finally came together."