With temperatures hovering just below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the crew at Wollersheim Winery & Distillery, with the help of volunteers, harvested one of the largest crops of Ice Wine grapes in the winery’s history.

“The fruit was beautiful and it was picture perfect out there,” Philippe Coquard, Wollersheim’s Winemaker said. “The juice tested at 31% sugar, which will make for a good Wisconsin Ice Wine and we are very happy with that.”

This was the second deep freezing episode this fall at the Wollersheim’s vineyard, but at 4 am Philippe almost cancelled the harvest due to concerns over potential rising temperatures.

Ice Wine grapes in the November sun.

“I went and checked the fruit and there were still lots of ice crystals within the fruit,” Philippe stated. “So, we decided to go ahead and pick the grapes before the sun soaked the hillside.”

With 40 pickers and optimal weather conditions, the harvest went quickly and as smoothly as one could hope. The sun stayed hidden behind the hills and clouds and peaked out just as the final clusters were being removed from the vines just before 9 AM.

Enologist Céline Coquard tests sugar levels of the freshly harvested crop.

“It couldn’t have gone any better,” Philippe said. “Waiting would have done nothing but hurt.”

The longer you wait to harvest Ice Wine grapes the more fruit you risk losing to things such as animals, snow and wind. This year we installed a high deer fence and raccoon protection around the Ice Wine vines, and that coupled with the ideal weather made for a large and delicious crop.

Wollersheim Winery & Distillery’s Ice Wine from last year’s harvest is currently available for purchase with the 2018 vintage being released in October of 2019.

Want more? Click on the photo below to watch a short video of the 2018 harvest of Wollersheim’s Ice Wine!

Click here to watch a short video of the 2018 Ice Wine Harvest at Wollersheim Winery & Distillery.