An unseasonably warm autumn, which appears to be giving way to a mild winter, is likely to delay Nova Scotia’s …
Icewine grapes harvested… just in timeBy Trevor J. Adams | Jan 19, 2011
What was shaping up to be a disastrous season for icewine producers in Nova Scotia may actually turn out to be one of their best. Some background: icewine grapes need a couple of days of consistent -8C temperatures before workers can harvest them for icewine. And late January is about the longest they can wait to do that harvest before it becomes impossible to produce icewine for the upcoming season. Noticing that we haven’t had much consistently cold weather, I checked in with John Warner from Warner Vineyards in Lakeville. He reports that the season redeemed itself just in time.
“All the icewine grapes were harvested at Warner Vineyards in Lakeville over a two-day period during the early morning hours on Monday and Tuesday when the air temperature plummeted to -12C,” he says in an email he sent me this morning. “The Vidal icewine grapes were frozen solid and we were able to harvest approximately 25 tons of grapes with a crew of 10 people and a mechanical grape harvester.”
John adds that it is one of the toughest seasons for icewine grapes he’s seen in his 15 years harvesting them, but nature’s capriciousness may end up being a boon for vintners. “Because the icewine harvest was delayed by a month the grapes have undergone numerous freeze/thaw cycles that have intensified the overall icewine juice flavors and complexity,” he explains. ‘We were initially concerned that the extended hang time would cause the grapes to dehydrate and shrivel to raisins but luckily the cold spell arrived just in time.” Warner Vineyards sells its icewine juice to several wineries in Nova Scotia.
For more on Nova Scotian icewine, check out Danny Hewitt’s column from our current issue.