Icewine harvest back on in Germany

A cold snap has guaranteed icewine for Germany’s producers in the 2011 vintage but conditions have been less favourable in North America.

The mild winter over 2011/12 initially made it likely that an icewine harvest would not be possible. However, a drop in temperature on Tuesday night (17 January) has changed this for Germany’s producers.

Wines of Germany has received news from producers in Baden, Franconia, Mosel, Rheingau, the Pfalz, Württemberg and Rheinhessen, all reporting an icewine harvest.

More notable vineyards in which harvests have been reported so far include Würzburger Pfaffenberg in Franconia, Assmannshauser Höllenberg and Wicke Nonnberg in the Rheingau and Maringer Sonnenuhr in the Mosel.

Despite this lucky break for those gambling on a chance to make icewine this year, there will be exceptionally limited amounts as yields fell dramatically due to the long wait.

Also a rarity in the 2011 vintage will be icewine from North America. Growers across Canada and the US states of New York, Ohio, Minnesota and Massachusetts appear to have largely abandoned the idea after a lack of sufficient frosts.

In Ontario the weather has been too warm to fall below the required -8 degrees centigrade and too many grapes had been lost during the wait for a freeze that has not arrived.

In the US, there was a fall in temperatures on 3 January but it came a month later than usual and has not been repeated since, depriving the grapes of the successive freeze and thaw cycles needed to concentrate the juice.

Although some growers picked after this one freeze hoping for the best, many have left their remaining crop to the birds – as in Germany, yields were already down 20% because of the long wait.

2 Responses to “Icewine harvest back on in Germany”

  1. elizabeth young says:

    i am interested in ice wines from germany and austria, viniculture, growing and possibly investing in
    icewine in some way. if you have any information you can share with me, i would appreciate very much. thank you

    • Rupert Millar says:

      Elizabeth,

      Hope I can be of some help. Not sure what you mean by the viticulture and growing connected with icewine. There are many books out there that can explain it far better than I. It’s a rather haphazard sort of production – no one can make it when produced properly, which is leaving a proportion of the crop on the vine to freeze, concentrating the juice, so it’s not produced every year.

      As for investment, sadly icewine is not investment material. There’s very little demand for sweet wines on an investment/auction market with the exception of Château d’Yquem. Although German and Austrian sweet wines – and Tokay – are among the most beautiful and complex of any wines in the world, there’s no second market for them.

      On the other hand, this means one can pick them up for very attractive prices and for sheer excellence and enjoyment there are few wines I’d rather collect more. I can’t recommend one specific vineyard for their icewines as production is so irregular and weather dependent, but if you find the very best Austrian and German producers it is highly likely that if and when they make an icewine it will be good too, particularly if the producer has a reputation for making more traditional off-dry/sweet wines. Traditional producers in the Mosel and Rheingau are a good place to start.

      Hope that helps.

      Rupert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Supply Chain Assistant

Speciality Drinks
London NW10 7SF, UK

Supply Chain Co-ordinator

Speciality Drinks
London NW10 7SF, UK

On-Trade Regional Sales Manager

Anthony Byrne Fine Wines
West Midlands & Northants

Logistics Team Leader

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Assistant Operations Manager

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Technical Manager

North South Wines
West Drayton, UK

Key Account Manager

MMI Maldives
Maldives

Business Manager - Impulse

Australian Vintage
Croydon, UK

Decanter Awards Marketing Manager

Decanter
London, UK

Customer Development Manager - South London

Love Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Exclusive Masterclass: Chablis on Tour

London,United Kingdom
29th Apr 2019

Vinexpo Bordeaux

Bordeaux,France
13th May 2019

London Wine Fair 2019

London,United Kingdom
20th May 2019
Click to view more

The Global Grenache Masters 2019

Deadline : 26th April 2019

The Tuscan Masters 2019

Deadline : 26th April 2019

Click to view more

The Global Riesling Masters 2018

View Results

Rioja Masters 2018

View Results

Click to view more