After much anticipation, our Wisconsin Ice Wine was released on May 5th.
For those who may not be familiar with Ice Wine, it is a truly special wine that is unlike anything else. The highly concentrated juice is pressed from the frozen grapes, and then fermented slowly to produce an intensely sweet and concentrated wine that is like liquid honey. We like to call it our Nectar of the Vines.
“Ice Wine is very concentrated. It is made with white grapes and is almost like maple syrup in terms of sweetness and concentration,” Wollersheim’s Winemaker, Philippe said. “It is considered a dessert wine and is very special and unique.”
Like all wine regions, Wisconsin is blessed with its own natural advantages when it comes to producing specific wines and styles. Ice Wine is one of those distinctive wines. Wisconsin’s unique natural environmental factors, namely an intensely cold winter, are the paramount variables when it comes to producing Ice Wine.
“Ice Wine is unique because it can only be made in the northern most states. We can make ice wine because we have the cold temperatures,” Philippe said. “While a place like California has the heat for an intense Pinot Noir or Cabernet, we have the cold and we take advantage of what we have. California cannot make Ice Wine, and we can.”
While there are certainly no shortages of cold winters here in Wisconsin, sometimes the stars don’t align and we aren’t able to produce Ice Wine, making it even more special. In 2019 we experienced a spring frost, which affected the total available crop at the end of the growing season. Due to a lack of fruit, Ice Wine was not produced last year so that other wines could be made.
“We cannot make Ice Wine every year. It is purely dependent on the growing season and the winter,” Philippe said. “The longer you wait the more you lose to the weather and other factors. You are trying to grab the very first cold snap to pick the grapes. This year we already cancelled it twice, so we feel very fortunate to have finally had the weather we needed.”
This year’s Ice Wine can be found at Wisconsin stores, here at the winery, and online at Wollersheim.com while supplies last.
To view a video of the 2020 Ice Wine harvest in action, click here.