Winery workers in Niagara, Canada have been out in force in recent weeks for the country’s annual ice wine harvest, Decanter.
And producers were confident of a good vintage, according to Decanter.
“For ice wine, this is the best vintage in recent memory,” said Paul Speck of Pelham Family Estate Winery. “The grapes are very ripe and really healthy, with tons of flavor.”
Speck’s winery was one of many big names to begin harvesting in earnest. Others included Hillebrand, Inniskillin, Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate, Peller Estates and Pillitteri Estates.
Despite short periods of cold weather in November and December, allowing a handful of wineries to pick a few grapes early, the vast majority came in beginning January 3.
“The temperature fluctuation over the last few months is what’s great about this vintage,” said Charlie Pillitteri of Pillitteri Estates Winery. “It has created slight dehydration in the grapes, improving their flavor profiles and quality. The flavors this year are spectacular.”
To produce ice wine, wineries press the grapes frozen, releasing concentrated nectar and leaving behind the water portion of the juice.
The 2007 harvest is expected to be complete by the end of February. The first wines will be released in the spring.