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A cold snap has guaranteed icewine for Germany’s producers in the 2011 vintage but conditions have been less favourable in North America.
The mild winter over 2011/12 initially made it likely that an icewine harvest would not be possible. However, a drop in temperature on Tuesday night (17 January) has changed this for Germany’s producers.
Wines of Germany has received news from producers in Baden, Franconia, Mosel, Rheingau, the Pfalz, Württemberg and Rheinhessen, all reporting an icewine harvest.
More notable vineyards in which harvests have been reported so far include Würzburger Pfaffenberg in Franconia, Assmannshauser Höllenberg and Wicke Nonnberg in the Rheingau and Maringer Sonnenuhr in the Mosel.
Despite this lucky break for those gambling on a chance to make eiswein this year, there will be exceptionally limited amounts as yields fell dramatically due to the long wait.
Also a rarity in the 2011 vintage will be icewine from North America. Growers across Canada and the US states of New York, Ohio, Minnesota and Massachusetts appear to have largely abandoned the idea after a lack of sufficient frosts.
In Ontario the weather has been too warm to fall below the required -8 degrees centigrade and too many grapes had been lost during the wait for a freeze that has not arrived.
In the US, there was a fall in temperatures on 3 January but it came a month later than usual and has not been repeated since, depriving the grapes of the successive freeze and thaw cycles needed to concentrate the juice.
Although some growers picked after this one freeze hoping for the best, many have left their remaining crop to the birds – as in Germany, yields were already down 20% because of the long wait.
Story by Rupert Millar
Courtesy of The Drinks Business