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British Columbia Icewine Harvest Begins at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna
Summerhill Pyramid Winery Team Braves Sub-Zero Temperatures For A Sweet Reward
Brrrr! The #icewine harvest began tonight @summerhillwine Superb grapes will yield delicious nectar. #bcwine #organic
Want to learn more about #bcwine and #icewine? @summerhillwine tells us more about it in Icewine: The Essence of the Grape
Here’s The Story:
Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Canada’s acclaimed organic and biodynamic winery, started its harvest of Icewine at their Kelowna vineyard tonight. Following an already excellent growing season and table wine harvest, the ideal weather situation occurred that allowed the team to harvest Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zweigelt from the winery’s estate vineyard.
“To make superb Icewine, the first thing you need is superb grapes,” said Summerhill CEO Ezra Cipes. “The Okanagan Valley is singularly blessed because not only have we had a growing season that produced perfect grapes, but we had the temperatures that froze our grapes on the vine to produce this delicious nectar. It’s perfection in a glass.”
In the previous vintage, Summerhill picked grapes for the 2012 vintage Icewine on January 12, 2013.
Vineyard manager Willem Semmelink suggested, “After a challenging growing season that saw heavy rain in June, followed by damaging hail in some parts of the Valley, the weather ultimately delivered a long, warm Autumn that produced wonderful grapes. We are pleased that the arctic express has arrived so early, allowing us to capture this amazing fruit so early in the season and avoid damage to nature’s gift.”
So what exactly is Icewine?
Icewine is a style of sweet dessert wine produced from grapes that have frozen naturally on the vine to a level of at least -8 degrees Celsius. Grapes left on the vine late in the season begin to lose their stored water content and start to shrivel. The sugars within the core of the grape do not freeze, which produces a concentrated grape must at time of pressing, resulting in a small yield of sweet and concentrated juice. Ice wine usually offers mouth-coating balanced with high acidity and moderate alcohol.
Icewines are generally more expensive than table wines for several reasons. Labour costs are higher than normal as a large group of grape pickers must be assembled with sometimes little notice, who are able to pick the entire crop within a few hours before the grapes begin to thaw, often in the middle of the night. The potential for damage to grapes left on the vine also increases due to weather, predators, rot and disease. Conditions in the cellar are also more challenging as the grapes must be pressed while still frozen and special equipment may be used. Fermentation also takes months instead of weeks and unique varieties of yeasts must be used in the process.
Since many of the world’s wine growing regions will not experience such extreme temperatures, Canada and Germany produce most of the world’s Icewine, usually sold in 375 or 200ml bottles
Summerhill Winery has produced a short video titled Icewine: the Essence of the Grape which can be viewed HERE.
Learn About Summerhill Pyramid Winery:
Summerhill Pyramid Winery, located for more than 20 years in the Lakeshore district in Kelowna, BC, is Canada’s premier certified organic winery, BC’s first Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard, and Canada’s foremost producer of sparkling wine.
Winemaker Eric von Krosigk oversees the portfolio of BC VQA wines that suit every occasion and has earned the winery the ‘Canadian Wine Producer of the Year’ award at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London, England. The winery, owned by the Cipes family, is also home to the Sunset Organic Bistro, serving food grown and raised by local organic producers, including Summerhill’s own on-site permaculture-style vegetable garden. The mission of the entire Summerhill team is to produce exceptionally good-tasting wines organically, support local organic food growers, and provide unforgettable experiences for all guests.
More background reading on Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s organic and biodynamic farming practices can be found here.
1. Pickers bundled up to pick frozen grapes at Summerhill Pyramid Winery click here
2. Frozen grapes are poured into a bin at SummerhiIll Pyramid Winery click here
3. Frozen grapes are picked for Icewine at Summerhill Pyramid Winery click here
4. A bottle of Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s finished Pinot Noir Icewine click here
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