About ICE Wine
Designates German wines produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen. Freezing concentrates not just the sugar in the grapes, but also acidity and extract. For best results, a frost of at least -8 °C/18 °F is required, for which grapes are generally harvested between five and eight in the morning in the first sufficiently cold November or December days.
Eiswein picked in January or even February is not uncommon, but is seldom of as high a quality. Such a wine is labeled for the calendar year of the growing season. The harvesting of Eiswein has become much more routine as a result of the widespread (if controversial) use of semi-permeable plastic sheeting spread over the vines to protect from birds and rain while waiting for a suitably deep frost. While the classic concept of Eiswein for most growers is a wine from botrytis-free grapes, this is not a legal requirement, and the use of film in fact often promotes humidity and thus a low level of botrytis in the shrouded grapes. If the harvest does not to achieve the requisite must weight or the character deemed appropriate to Eiswein by the individual vintner, the wine usually ends up being bottled as an Auslese or subsumed into another wine, even though this practice is technically legally questionable.
Made in British Columbia, Québec, and particularly Ontario, is Canada’s version of Eiswein and the crown jewel of its wine industry. The word Ice wine has been trademarked by VQA Canada which imposes the world’s most stringent standards on the production of ice wine. In Ontario, grapes for Ice wine must have reached temperatures as low as -8°C/18°F before being harvested (as for Germany’s Eiswein) but sugar levels must reach at least 35°Brix, considerably higher than the minimum requirements in Germany and Austria.
All Ice wine must be varietal and made from vinifera grapes or the French hybrid Vidal. Grapes must be grown and pressed within a recognized Viticultural Area. Residual sugar at bottling must be at least 125 g/l. No sweet reserve may be added.
Hungarian Ice Wine
Few winemakers produce ice wine in Hungary. Sümegi és Fia (Hajós-Baja wine region) winery produce ice wine every year since 1989. They make their ice wine from Rhein Riesling. They take extra care on every grapes and pick only the healthiest berries.
Another winery famous about it’s ice wine is Vylyan Vinery in Villany region (South West Hungary). Vylyan winery was awarded with the best Hungarian Vinery 2008. Also winemakers from Tokaj and Balaton region produce ice wine.
The Hungarian Wine House team is passionate about promoting the fine wines from the 22 Regions of Hungary. We will be writing regularly about the different grapes, wines and vintages, and look forward to hearing your views about Hungarian wines.