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German ice wine


This is new one on me.


What icewine? or German icewine?


German ice wine.


It’s been around since before Canadian Ice wine. I think there’s a little fear monger ing here though. It’s oNly ever made in cool enough years and isn’t consistently made every year .


Before they tinkered with the labelling regs. the time before last, you used to be able to buy wines picked on a specific day. “Weihnachtswein” was picked on 24th December for example. German wine labels back then could be colossally complicated.

I’m not completely up to speed on what is permissible now, but I assume this sort of thing is no longer allowed. The grower has to make the decision to let a proportion of his grapes hang, in the hope of a freeze-up so he can make icewine. It’s the only way to add value beyond the usual harvest time. Presumably you then have to get up before dawn to pick the grapes in temperatures of -8C or lower, often picking your way through a vineyard in the dark, precariously balanced above a precipitous drop into the river.

Otherwise, you are just going to have to pick them and make a kabinett, spaetlese etc. depending on must weight and proportion of botrytised grapes.

Icewine is always going to be a gamble - a gamble that didn’t pay off this year.


Icewine is made elsewhere (@Leah already mentioned Canada), such as in Alsace, but it has to be constructively labelled there as there is no appellation to cover it. I’m trying to think of other places.

In fact, there is a sort of English “icewine”. Hattingley valley leave some Bacchus grapes to hang and then pick them late. They go straight into a big deep-freeze! Apparently the first time they made it, it took about a week for the press cake in their Coquard press to thaw enough to clean out!


Austria, where it is also labled as Eiswein, and follows similar rules to Germany. Had an enchanting 2014 Gruner Veltliner Eiswein a year or so ago. Switzerland makes some too, but they’re very rare.


That makes sense, @Inbar. It does seem to be mostly a Germanic thing. I’m not a buyer of eiswein at the prices asked, but will cheerfully accept a glass if offered!


Anywhere can make freezer wine and it’s an enjoyable sweetie, and some places bend the rules regarding labelling - one just calls their wine ‘ICE’ so people ask for the icewine and get that.

The USA only recently enforced the correct labelling of real icewine, which is some times made in northern states, especially New York up by the Canadian border.

The most reliable winters are enjoyed/endured in Ontario and their icewine is superb. I especially like the colour of icewine made from Cabernet S or F.

In the past few years Lidl has had Pilliteri Estate Icewine (from Riesling, Cab s or Vidal) at £14.99 per half, and sometimes discounted to £7.99. Either price is a bargain.


I bought the riesling and it is incredible value for money. Will definitely buy more when I see it again.


I love Canadian ice wine. I find Lidl only sells it in the run up to Christmas though - need to buy enough to last you the year!!