What are the different styles of ice wine?

by Wine

Ice wine, also known as Eiswein, is a unique and luxurious dessert wine made from grapes that have been frozen on the vine. Ice wine has become increasingly popular in recent years, and the different styles of ice wine can vary greatly depending on the region and grape variety used.

The most common styles of ice wine are German, Canadian, and Austrian. Each style has its own unique characteristics, so let’s take a closer look at each one to learn more about them.Ice wine, also known as Eiswein, is a type of dessert wine made from frozen grapes. It is a specialty of Germany and Canada, though it is also produced in other countries. The process of making ice wine requires the grapes to be frozen on the vine before they are harvested. The cold temperatures preserve the flavor and sweetness of the grapes, resulting in a sweet, intense flavor. The juice has high sugar content, but low acidity and alcohol levels. This creates a unique flavor profile that can vary depending on the type of grape used.

In order to make ice wine, the grapes must be frozen at least 17°F (-8°C). If temperatures drop too low, below 5°F (-15°C), it can damage the fruit and affect the quality of the resulting beverage. Ice wines are usually more expensive than other wines due to their labor-intensive production and limited production volume.

Ice wines have aromas of honey, peach, apricot, melon, and citrus fruits. On the palate it has a rich sweetness balanced with refreshing acidity. Ice wines are best served chilled alongside desserts or fruit-based dishes.

History and Background of Ice Wine

Ice wine, also known as Eiswein, is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The grapes are left to freeze naturally and then harvested in the winter months. The result is a sweet and intense flavor with typically high levels of acidity and sugar. Ice wine has been produced in Germany since the late 1700s, though it wasn’t until the mid-1900s that it gained popularity in other parts of Europe and North America. In 1985, Canadian winemakers developed a process for producing ice wine that involved freezing the grapes before harvest, which allowed them to produce larger quantities than ever before.

Ice wine production requires special conditions that can only be created in climates with cold winters and cold nights during late fall or early winter. The grapevines must be exposed to temperatures below -7 degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit) for several hours before they can be harvested. If the temperature drops too low, the grapes will not ripen properly and will not produce good quality ice wines. Additionally, due to their high sugar content, ice wines are more susceptible to spoilage so they must be processed quickly after harvest.

Ice wines are typically made from white varieties of grape such as Riesling, Vidal Blanc, and Gewurztraminer but there are some red varieties that can also be used including Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. After harvesting, the frozen grapes are pressed immediately so that only a small amount of concentrated juice is obtained from each grape. This juice is then fermented at low temperatures for several weeks or months until it reaches its desired sweetness level.

Over time ice wine has become a popular dessert wine around the world due to its intense flavors and aromas as well as its rarity. Today most ice wines come from Germany or Canada although there are some producers in other countries including Austria, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. Ice wines tend to be expensive due to their labor-intensive production process but they can offer an unforgettable experience for those who appreciate truly unique flavors

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Different Styles of Ice Wine

Ice wine is a unique and exquisite type of dessert wine made from grapes that have been frozen on the vine. It has a sweet, syrupy flavor and can be made in both red and white varieties. The most common styles of ice wine are German, Canadian, and Austrian.

German ice wine has a full-bodied flavor with aromas of honey, apricots, and peaches. This style of ice wine is usually semi-sweet or sweet in taste. The German style also tends to be less expensive than other types.

Canadian ice wine has a light, fruity flavor with notes of citrus and stone fruit like apricots and peaches. This style is usually quite sweet with an intense aroma and is often served as a dessert wine. It is also the most expensive type of ice wine due to its complex production process.

Austrian ice wines have an intense flavor with notes of citrus, honey, and tropical fruits such as lychees or melons. This style is usually quite sweet but can be slightly dryer than other types depending on the producer’s desired taste profile. Austrian ice wines tend to be more expensive than German or Canadian styles due to the higher cost of production in Austria.

Regardless of the style chosen, all types of ice wines are special dessert wines that have a unique sweetness that sets them apart from other styles of wine. They are an excellent choice for sipping after dinner or for pairing with desserts such as cheesecake or fruit tarts.

Grapes Used in Ice Wines

Ice wines are a special type of sweet dessert wine made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. This process concentrates the sugars and acidity in the grapes, resulting in a unique flavor profile. The most common grapes used for ice wines are Riesling, Vidal, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.

Riesling is an aromatic white grape variety that is used for making light-bodied wines with high acidity and floral aromas. It is one of the most popular grapes for ice wine production due to its high sugar content and bright flavors. The best Riesling ice wines tend to have a honeyed sweetness and notes of apricot and lemon zest.

Vidal is an ideal choice for making ice wine as it has high sugar content which helps to create a balanced sweetness when combined with its naturally occurring acidity. This grape variety produces a golden-colored wine with intense aromas of honey, apricot and citrus fruits. Vidal also has great aging potential which makes it well suited for producing late harvest or icewine style wines that can be aged for several years.

Cabernet Franc is another popular option for creating icewines as it produces full-bodied wines that are rich in tannins and complex aromas of red berries, herbs and spices. Cabernet Franc icewines tend to have intense flavors of blackcurrant, cherry and plum with notes of peppermint, licorice and leather on the finish.

Pinot Gris is one of the few white varieties that can be used successfully for making ice wine due to its thick skins which help protect the grapes from freezing temperatures. Pinot Gris icewines tend to be light-bodied with subtle floral aromas and flavors of peach, pear, apple and honeycomb on the palate.

Gewurztraminer is an aromatic white grape variety that is often used in late harvest style wines such as icewine. Gewurztraminer icewines tend to be sweet but balanced with bright acidity and intense aromas of lychee, rose petal and tropical fruit on the nose. On the palate they have flavors of pear, honeycomb and spices with a hint of fresh ginger on the finish.

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Overall these five grape varieties have become popular choices for making ice wine due their naturally high sugar content as well as their unique flavor profiles which can create complex yet balanced sweet dessert wines when crafted correctly.

Harvesting the Grapes

The process of making ice wine begins with harvesting the grapes. The grapes used for ice wine must be left on the vine until they are frozen and at least partially dehydrated. This is typically done in the late fall or wintertime when temperatures have dropped below freezing. The grapes must be harvested by hand, and care must be taken to ensure that they remain frozen during this process. Once harvested, the grapes are quickly brought inside to prevent them from thawing out.

Crushing and Pressing

Once the grapes have been harvested, they are then crushed and pressed in order to extract their juice. This juice is referred to as “must” and is what will eventually become ice wine. The pressing process is done gently in order to ensure that only a small amount of liquid is extracted from each grape. This results in a concentrated flavor profile that has a high sugar content.


The next step in the ice wine making process is fermentation. During this step, yeast is added to the must in order to convert its sugars into alcohol. This process usually takes several weeks, during which time the temperature of the must needs to remain steady in order for fermentation to occur properly. At the end of fermentation, a sweet, low-alcohol wine will have been produced.


Once fermentation has completed, the ice wine will then need to be aged for several months before it can be bottled and consumed. During this aging period, flavors will continue to develop and deepen as oxygen interacts with the molecules present in the wine. It is also during this time that sediments can form at the bottom of bottles, which should be removed prior to consumption.


Finally, after aging has finished, it’s time for bottling! Ice wines are typically bottled like any other type of dessert or fortified wines – with cork stoppers or screw-top caps – but can also come in specialty bottles with unique shapes or decorations on them. Ultimately how you bottle your ice wine is up to you!

Characteristics of Ice Wines

Ice wines are a type of dessert wine that is produced from grapes that have been harvested and pressed while frozen. They are typically made from Vitis vinifera varieties such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris. The result is a sweet and intensely flavored wine that has a prominent acidity and intense aromas. The character of ice wines can vary significantly depending on the grape variety used, the region in which it was grown, and the winemaking techniques used.

Ice wines generally have an intense golden color with aromas of ripe tropical fruit, honey, apricot, rose petals, and spice. On the palate they are sweet but balanced by high acidity which gives them a refreshing finish. The sweetness level can vary from dry to very sweet depending on the grape variety used and the amount of residual sugar in the wine.

In terms of flavor characteristics, ice wines tend to be more complex than regular table wines due to their concentrated flavors and aromas. They often have notes of honeyed apricots, citrus zest, lychee nut, honeysuckle blossoms, pineapple core, and spice cake with hints of aniseed or white pepper. The body is usually full-bodied with a velvety texture that coats the palate with a lingering sweetness that slowly fades away.

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Ice wines are best served chilled to around 8-10°C (46-50°F) in order to bring out their natural aromas and flavors. They are best enjoyed as an after-dinner drink or as an accompaniment to desserts such as crème brûlée or apple pie. Ice wines can also be used in cooking to add complexity to dishes such as poached pears or roasted duck breasts with honey glaze.

Serving and Storing of Ice Wines

Ice wines are a dessert wine that can be enjoyed with a variety of desserts or simply on its own. Ice wines are best served chilled, but not too cold as it can mask the unique flavoring. For optimal enjoyment, it is best served between 8-10°C (46-50°F). When served, pour it into a stemmed glass to enjoy its aromas.

When storing ice wines, keep them in a cool and dark place. It is important to store them upright as this will help prevent any cork from drying out. Keep the bottles away from any strong odors as this can affect the flavor of the wine. Additionally, ice wines should be consumed within one year of purchase to ensure optimal flavor and aroma.

For those that enjoy sweet wines, ice wine is a great option due to its unique and intense flavors. With careful serving and storage, you can ensure that you enjoy every drop of this sweeter variety of wine.

Ice Wines and Food Pairings

Ice wines are incredibly sweet, intensely flavorful, and highly concentrated dessert wines. Often made from grapes that have been left on the vine until late in the season, these full-bodied wines are perfect for sipping after dinner or pairing with desserts. But what kind of food works best with ice wine? Here are a few suggestions:

Fruit-Based Desserts: Ice wine pairs beautifully with fruit-based desserts like tarts, pies, cobblers, and crumbles. The sweetness of the wine complements the flavor of the fruit while also providing a great contrast in texture.

Cheese: Ice wine is also wonderful when paired with cheese. The sweet and tart flavors complement each other perfectly, while the creamy texture of the cheese helps to balance out the intense sweetness of the wine.

Chocolate: Chocolate and ice wine is a match made in heaven! Rich dark chocolate is especially well suited for this pairing since it will be able to stand up to the bold flavors of ice wine without being overwhelmed. The sweetness of both components will also create an amazing flavor combination.

These are just a few of the many options when it comes to pairing food with ice wine. With its bold flavors and intense sweetness, ice wine can be used to create some truly memorable culinary experiences.


Ice wine is an interesting and unique type of wine. It is a sweet dessert-style wine made from grapes that have been left on the vine until they are frozen. Ice wines are produced in many different styles, from sparkling to still, and from dry to sweet. Each style has its own unique characteristics and flavors, making it a very interesting and enjoyable wine to try. Ice wines can vary greatly in price depending on the style and country of origin, but they are certainly worth trying for their unique flavor profile.

Whether you are looking for a sweet dessert-style wine or something more subtle and complex, there is an ice wine out there that will be perfect for you. With so many styles available, there’s sure to be an ice wine that will satisfy everyone’s tastes.



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