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icewine (GB)
ijswijn (N)
vino gelato (I)
vin de glace (F)

Term for a special type of wine made from frozen grapes. It must already be in the antiquity gave an "ice wine" because the Roman poet Martial (40-102) reports on winegrowers who brought frost-free grapes in November. The scholar also described it in the 1st century Pliny the Elder (23-79) about certain grape varieties: "They are not read until they have frozen" . This indicates a very conscious and not just accidental production of ice wine. However, this type of harvesting and vinification later seemed to have been forgotten. The production of ice wine was allegedly rediscovered in France towards the end of the 18th century. Similar to the Trockenbeerenauslese the phenomenon was not specifically planned in the beginning, but most likely happened by chance when a very early frost break surprised the wineries during the main harvest.

Eiswein - frozen grape and monument near Dromersheim

The first ice wine harvests in Germany are said to have taken place in Franconia in 1794. The first documented ice wine was made on February 11, 1830 by grapes from 1829 in Dromersheim Bingen in the growing area Rheinhessen read. There was an extremely cold winter and some winegrowers had the idea to let the grapes hang in order to feed the animals. When the grapes were found to contain very sweet must, they were pressed. In this regard, an ice wine memorial was even erected in Dromersheim (see picture above right). For the 19th century, however, only a total of six years were documented in Germany in which ice wine could be obtained. That was the mentioned year 1829, as well as the years 1846, 1858 (on the Johannisberg Castle ), 1875, 1880 and 1890.

Eiswein - Bocksbbeutel Bürgerspital and frozen berries

Today it means one Sweet specialty the northern wine producing countries, because the necessary climatic conditions only prevail in these latitudes. However, this also only applies to those areas where relatively early and strong frost breaks occur. In Germany and Austria are not every year, but there are always such conditions. In both countries Eiswein a special type of wine within the quality wine category Prädikatswein, An excellent one Icewine culture developed in from the mid-1970s Canada (Ontario), which was born by the Austrian Dr. Karl Emperor (1941-2017) at the winery Inniskillin was initiated. The production is extremely complex and risky and cannot be planned. In addition, the amount of harvest is only a fraction of a conventional wine, which explains the relatively high prices. The Mostgewicht at least one in Germany and Austria Beerenauslese correspond. Ice wine can only be made from fully ripe grapes; if the grapes freeze in an unripe state, then all the grape juice is frozen and no higher sugar concentrate can be squeezed out.

Absolute requirement for vintage is frost, The most healthy and usually not from Botrytis infested grapes must be left on the vine until frost begins. This is usually the case from November at the earliest, but can also only apply towards the end of January of the next year. The outside temperature must drop and persist to at least minus 7 ° Celsius or colder for at least five hours or at least longer. The sweet must with the extract substances has a lower freezing point than water. However, the extract substances in the berries prevent the water from freezing at normally 0 ° Celsius. The lower the temperature, the better the water molecules freeze and the pure must extract can be squeezed out. The ideal time for the harvest is usually early morning.

The grapes then have to be as quick and complete as possible, which means without stemming be pressed. The frozen grapes separate the concentrated grape juice with all the extract and sugar-rich ingredients from the ice crystals. Only this must concentrate runs off, the ice (water) remains and is excreted with the pomace. This is checked on site by an official inspection body. The process is very slow and takes several hours, during which time the presscake must not or only slightly thaw, both for legal and qualitative reasons (lowering of the must weight). There are attempts by freezing concentration to produce similar products. In 2001 the European Union had the protected name Icewine approved for the European market and thus opened the Canadian market for ice wines from Germany, Austria and other EU countries.

All work, techniques and measures in the vineyard during the growth cycle can be found at Weingarten Care, Complete lists of the numerous vinification measures and cellar techniques, as well as the types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine are under winemaking contain. There is extensive wine law information under the keyword wine law,

Grape Frozen: By Dominic Rivard from Bangkok,
Thailand - icewine grapes , CC BY-SA 2.0 , link
Monument: Von MSeses - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
Weinbeere: © DWI (German Wine Institute)

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