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Ontario Icewine Harvest (January 6, 2004)

The 2003 Icewine harvest got underway in Ontario's three wine regions on January 6. The cold spell, with temperatures dipping to –15° Celsius, provided ideal conditions to bring in the crop. Under VQA regulations, harvesting for Icewine cannot begin until the temperature drops to a minimum –8° Celsius to ensure the grape berries freeze solid and remain so during pressing.

Ontario is the world's largest producer of Icewine and the only wine-producing region that can make this "gift of winter" consistently every year, since we are blessed with predictable polar temperatures at some stage during the winter months.

Sixty Ontario wineries currently produce Icewine. Last year, Ontario wineries processed 629,000 litres of Icewine juice from 4,089 tonnes of grapes. The majority of Ontario Icewines are made from Riesling or the thick-skinned hybrid Vidal, although some producers use Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc or even the red Cabernet Franc. Two companies, Magnotta and Inniskillin, produce a sparkling Icewine.

In order to be labeled as Ontario Icewine, the pressed juice must achieve a minimum Brix level of 35°; otherwise it is declassified as Special Select or Select Late Harvest.

 

 

 

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