Okanagan BC Wineries Make
The Best Canadian Ice Wine!
That's Right! The Best Ice Wine In Canada! ;-)
Canadian Ice Wine in British Columbia is
mostly made in the Okanagan Valley, as this region is
blessed with ideal conditions for producing
wonderful red wines, white wines, fruit wines. If you're
planning on an Okanagan wine tour, be sure to ask about Ice Wines!
What is Ice Wine & How Do You Enjoy It Best?
Ice wine, or Icewine, is traditionally a unique sweet wine produced from the juice of naturally frozen grapes that
are grown and picked in ideal Canadian winter conditions.
Icewine originated in Germany, as Eiswein, with commercial production beginning there in the 1960's.
And, although production of ice wine in Canada began a century later,
the country is now the largest producer in the world.
Icewine is produced by many BC wineries, but the majority are found in the Okanagan Valley.
Ice wines have very intense flavours, a sweet and rich bouquet, with a
smoothness uncomparable to other wines.
Though traditionally a dessert wine, Canadian Ice Wines are
also served as a starter, with fresh fruit, soft cheeses, or
all by themselves.
If you're serving or having Icewine with dessert, they say the dessert
should be less sweet than the Icewine
- fruit-based desserts such as fruit cobbler, cheesecake or unsweetened
It should also be chilled in an ice bucket for 15 minutes or refrigerate
for two hours before serving.
Although ice wine (or Icewine) is primarily made from Riesling grapes,
it can be made from different types or varieties of grapes.
It takes about 30lbs of grapes to make one 375ml bottle of Ice Wine.
The Ice Wine Making Process
The ice wine making process begins with wine grapes that naturally frozen on the vine.
In British Columbia and Canada, Canadian ice wine can only be made from grapes pressed within a specific recognized viticultural area.
Our winters are cold enough to meet the strict standards of the VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) for grape growing,
wine-making techniques and wine production. Ice wines
in Canada, are also made in Ontario, and must also follow VQA protocol to be labelled as such.
In the Okanagan Valley, where wine grapes that are normally harvested in September,
they are instead left on the vines until late December or early January.
Grapes left on the vine during this time continue to ripen, and as the weather becomes
colder, the sugar concentration of the grapes increases,
while the acidity of the fruit decreases, which makes them icewine grapes.
Icewine grapes must freeze naturally and in ideal temperatures. Because the
sugar concentration in this fruit is much higher, it takes a temperature
of - 8°C or colder in order for the fruit to freeze.
In frozen grapes, all the water content is frozen allowing only the intensified sugars and aromas to be
released when the grapes are pressed for the ice wine making process.
Though the majority of Icewine is made from Riesling and Vidal varietals,
other grape varieties used for Canadian Ice Wine
include Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay.
Sparkling Icewine is also becoming a popular Ice Wine in Canada.
Where Can You Buy Ice Wine In The Okanagan British Columbia
First, know that many of the wines you'll taste, including the
Canadian Ice Wines, at Okanagan BC wineries won't be available anywhere else,
so if you like one, it's a good idea buy it right then and there.
If you plan to
buy by the case, wineries often have cartons or boxes to
offer for easy transporting.
Icewine can keep for 10 years or more, with proper storage - in a cool
dark place and on it's side. After opening a bottle of Icewine, you should drink
it within 4 - 5 days, which isn't tough to do since a bottle is somewhere
between 200 - 375 mls. (8 - 10 oz).
Some of the wineries that have produced Canadian Ice Wine in the Okanagan
Valley include Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, Inniskillin Winery, Jackson-Triggs Winery,
K Mountain Vineyards, Mission Hill Estate Winery, Mount Boucherie Estate
Winery, Nk'Mip Cellars, Peller Estates, Quails' Gate Estate Winery,
See Ya Later Ranch, Soaring Eagle Estate Winery, Summerhill Pyramid Winery,
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, and Willow Hill Winery.
Generally you can buy Ice Wine directly from the wineries you visit.
Many wineries in the Okanagan close for the winter months, so if you're here
during that time, your best bet is to call a winery that you might
be interested in, visit a BC VQA store, or a local visitor's centre. Okanagan
wine tour season is roughly from April to October, when tasting rooms are open,
as well as vineyard tours.
BC VQA Stores stock and sell a variety of Canadian Ice wines. -
see our BC VQA Labels On British Columbia Wines for
information about British Columbia wines and wine designation.
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