Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Icewine, made in british columbia, québec, nova scotia, and particularly ontario, is canada’s version of eiswein and the crown jewel of its wine industry. Average annual production in Ontario alone is 900,000 litres and routinely retails at more than C$50 per half-litre. The word Icewine has been trademarked by vqa Canada which imposes the world’s most stringent standards on the production of ice wine. In Ontario, grapes for Icewine must have reached temperatures as low as −8 °C/18 °F before being harvested (as for Germany’s Eiswein) but sugar levels must reach at least 35 °Brix, considerably higher than the minimum requirements in Germany and Austria. From the 1997 vintage, all grapes used for VQA Icewine had to be processed by VQA member wineries or Ontario grape growers who have registered as VQA processors, and strict monitoring systems are in place. All Icewine must be varietal and made from vinifera grapes or the French hybrid vidal. Grapes must be grown and pressed within a recognized Viticultural Area. Residual sugar at bottling must be at least 125 g/l. No sweet reserve may be added. Canadian wineries were the first to make sparkling Icewine and to make Icewine from red wine grapes.