Freezing Cold Ideal for Ontario’s Grape Growers

Release Date: 
Monday, January 21, 2013

Freezing temperatures expected over the next 3 days will provide ideal conditions for Ontario’s annual Icewine grape harvest. Growers have been watching their thermometers closely and waiting for Mother Nature to deliver perfect temperatures to freeze grapes on the vine for Ontario’s authentic Icewine production.

Grapes left for Icewine are netted in the fall when the grapes are ripening to protect them until winter.  Before harvest, the grapes dehydrate which concentrates the juices, increases the natural sugar in the fruit and develops the complex flavours of Icewine. The temperature must be a sustained minus 8 degrees Celsius or lower before the grapes can be harvested and then they are pressed immediately while stillfrozen.

“Ontario’s grape harvest set records last autumn, not just in terms of yield, but also quality. The superb 2012 grape crop has growers equally optimistic about the Icewine vintage,” said Grape Growers of Ontario Chair Bill George.  About 5,000 tonnes of grapes are expected to be harvested for Icewine, which will produce 750,000 to 800,000 litres of Ontario’s world renowned specialty wine.

The Grape Growers of Ontario is the official organization representing more than 500 grape growers of 17,000 acres of vineyards located in one of the cool climate viticulture areas in the world — an area that includes the Niagara Region, Prince Edward County, Lake Erie North Shore and the emerging Norfolk County. About 90 per cent of the grapes grown in Ontario are used for commercial winemaking, including about 8% destined for Icewine production.

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For information contact:
Grape Growers of Ontario
Debbie Zimmerman, CEO
905 401-2471

Bill George, Chair
905 984-0994