Icewine Weather Woes


HALIFAX — Maritimers may be getting pummelled with rotten weather, but according to Icewine producers in the region, it’s not the kind of cold, blustery December conditions they and their vines are used to, and that’s a problem.

John Warner of Warner Vineyards is anxiously waiting for a few days of cold temperatures to harvest his Vidal Icewine grapes. “We can harvest any time from December 1 to January 30 as long as the temperatures are below -8-degrees Celsius when we pick,” he says. “This ensures the grapes are thoroughly frozen and as hard as marbles before pressing.”

Typically in Nova Scotia, Icewine grapes are harvested during the Christmas holidays. However, the warm weather predicted may extend this year’s harvest until after the new year. “Although we have had a very wet and warm fall, the Vidal Icewine grapes are going into the winter in good shape and hopefully should be able to hang on the vine for another month or longer if necessary,” says Warner. “Our biggest concerns for the extended hang time are potential damage to the grapes from hungry birds and heavy snowfalls that could bury the vines.”

Despite, the meteorological challenges, industry experts in the area are still confident in their ability to produce a solid vintage. “We expect this year’s harvest to be of an exceptional quality… it has been one of the top three growing years for grapes in Nova Scotia and the Icewine grapes are looking just as good as our fall harvest,” said Hans Christian Jost, Winery Association of Nova Scotia president and Jost Vineyards owner.

Fans of Nova Scotia Icewine can check out the latest bottles at the province’s annual Winter Icewine Festival, which features more than 40 events taking place across the region from Feb. 3 to 13.


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