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How sweet it is! The 2016 Icewine harvest in Niagara wine country has begun

Ontario Icewine

For the second time this year, the Icewine harvest in Ontario is underway. At 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, the harvest for sweet, frozen grapes for the 2016 crop began when temperatures dropped below -8 C, the audited temperature for VQA rules, and Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery began picking Riesling grapes.

Riesling will be followed by Vidal and Cabernet Franc varietals.

Oddly, this is the second harvest of Icewine grapes at Henry of Pelham this year — the 2015 harvest didn’t begin until until Jan. 4.

“The forecast is showing sub-zero temperatures through the end of the week,” said Matthew Speck co-owner and viticulturist, Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. “We hope to bring all of the fruit in as quickly as possible over the next few nights.”

Henry of Pelham has made award-winning Icewine since 1989. Most recently, the 2014 Riesling Icewine was awarded a Platinum medal, the top honour at the 2016 National Wine Awards.  

“The fruit quality has been very high this year and Icewine will be no exception,” said Sandrine Bourcier, winemaker, Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. “We expect a good balance of sweetness and acidity with stone fruit and honey flavours.”