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Vintners harvest bumper ice wine crop

The Local · 11 Dec 2012, 06:22

Published: 11 Dec 2012 06:22 GMT+01:00

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Known as Eiswein in German, the high-quality dessert wine requires grapes to freeze on the vine.

Perfect conditions this year convinced vineyards to take a gamble on ice wine by leaving more grapes than usual hanging on the vine, Ernst Büscher from the German Wine Institute in Mainz said this week.

“That’s perfect, because it ensures acidity levels are well concentrated,” he said, explaining this should lead to a crisp vintage without sickly sweetness.

Ice wine requires the grapes to freeze at temperatures below -7 degrees Celsius before being harvested and processed. The cold makes a particularly sweet beverage.

Using the so-called Oechsle scale to determine the density of grape must, German vintners recorded levels from 150 to 200 degrees. The higher the rating, the riper and more sugar content must has.

Whereas the Korrell vineyard along the Nahe River harvested an ice wine with 190 degrees Oechsle, the vineyard Balthasar Ress in the Rhinegau region brought in a Riesling ice wine reaching 170 degrees.

Büscher said the ice wine harvest could continue well into this week, with meteorologists forecasting double-digit minus temperatures for much of Germany.

Story continues below…

DAPD/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:20 December 14, 2012 by MikeJarosz
I love German wines. Qualitätswein, Spätlesen, Auslesen und Beerenauslesen. Just once in my life I have even had a Trockenbeerenauslese. But never have I had an Eiswein. Very little is made, even in Germany. Of what is made, very little makes it to the Vereinigten Staaten. When it can be found here, it is prohibitively expensive. The French equivalent, sauternes, expensive as it is, is still cheaper than an authentic German Eiswein.

Little known fact: if the frozen grapes last and are picked after the new year, German Wine law allows it to bear two vintage years!

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