Last night’s freezing weather may save the hope for a 2014 ice wine vintage for NY wine makers! Ice wine is a New York specialty. It is a dessert wine which gets its intense sweetness and flavor through grapes that are naturally frozen and then pressed to make juice while still icy — leaving a lot of the water behind. That concentrates the sugars and the flavors, but yields less juice then conventional wines, raising the cost for these sought after delights.
Vineyard managers wait until the winter temperatures reach about 10 to 15 degrees for at least a day or long enough to freeze the grapes. This year, the warm December may cause vineyard manager to pick before the freeze and instead produce “late harvest” wines (since regular harvest ended in October) because the prolonged warm weather could lead the grapes to rot or otherwise lose their flavor, and also run the risk they’ll be eaten by birds and deer.