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Sub-zero temperatures in Niagara mark the start of the icewine harvest at Henry of Pelham


The Icewine harvest started in Niagara at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning when temperatures dropped below -8 C, the audited temperature for VQA rules, and Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery began picking Cabernet Franc grapes.

The Cabernet Franc grapes will be followed by Riesling and Vidal varietals.

“The forecast is showing plunging temperatures over the next few days,” said Matthew Speck, Co-Owner and Viticulturist, Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. “With the expected cold weather in Niagara, we are excited to harvest the 2017 Icewine crop. Due to the exceptional growing conditions this year, and especially the warm, dry fall, we are anticipating one of our largest Icewine crops in our 30 year history.”

Henry of Pelham has made award-winning Icewine since 1989.

“Because the start date of our table wine harvest was a bit delayed, this will result in a riper, more jammy fruit profile for our Icewine harvest,” said Sandrine Bourcier, winemaker, Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. “Due to the hot weather conditions that we had in September and October, the grapes are naturally sweeter, which may result in a more concentrated Icewine.”

Icewine is a treat to drink on its own, blended with ice, or in cocktails such as “The Cool Breeze.” Mix one ounce Riesling Icewine with half an ounce of Vodka, half an ounce of lemon juice and 2 ounces of white cranberry juice. Garnish with frozen grapes. Icewine can be enjoyed immediately or aged for 10+ years.