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Our “Phil-osophy” On This One-of-a-Kind Icewine

Frozen grapes on vine

In this segment of Our “Phil-osophy”, we sat down with Phil, our winemaker, to discuss icewine, particularly our Corot Noir Icewine.


Q: How is a wine considered an Icewine?

A: “In order to label wine “icewine,” the fruit has to freeze on the vine naturally and be picked and pressed while still frozen.  This means that the temperature in the vineyard has to drop to around 15F or below and stay at that temperature for a few hours. Typically, this temperature window occurs in the pre-dawn hours in the months of December and January, but the winter of 2013-2014 was anything but typical.  Temperatures fell into this range in November and held there into February. The grapes for this wine were harvested on Black Friday 2013.”

Q: What makes an Icewine so sweet?

A: “Part of what makes icewine work is that as the fruit is being pressed it starts to thaw.  High-sugar solutions are difficult to freeze, so there is a natural separation that occurs between the sugar and water present in the grape juice.  The juice that presses out of these grapes generally has twice as much sugar than you would expect if you pressed them unfrozen. Unfortunately, this also accounts for a significant drop in yield—this is the main driver behind the small bottle and comparatively large price.”

Q: How does an Icewine’s fermentation process differ?

A: “Despite all the sugar, icewine fermentations are actually really hard on yeast.  They take forever to finish and generally stop on their own. Typically when you’re trying to leave some natural sugar in a wine, you have to intervene in some way (generally we do this by chilling the fermentations down to pause the yeast).  In icewines, this is not necessary—sometimes we have to restart these fermentations several times just to get the alcohol level to a desirable endpoint.”

Q: Where do these grapes come from?

A: Well, the Corot Noir is a hybrid grape variety that was developed at Cornell. The fruit that is used for our wine was sourced from Smith Brothers’ Farm in North Rose, NY.

Q: What makes this Icewine so special?

A: “To the best of my knowledge, this is the only icewine that has ever been produced from Corot Noir, and there’s a strong chance that it’ll keep that title.”

Q: What do you recommend drinking this Icewine with?

A: “I would say this Icewine would go well with Mole chicken and even a mincemeat pie.”


We encourage you to try this unique icewine as it’s very likely the only one of it’s kind in the area. Stop in our tasting room this month, January 2019, for a complimentary sample and to purchase your own to share with others.