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Copyright © 2012
by Fred McMillin
A Divine Ice Wine
The Physics of Grape Juice
When grape juice is cooled below freezing, the first solid to form is ice, even if the juice is inside a grape skin. Hence, if the partly-frozen grape is crushed, the solid ice is left behind with the other solids (skin, seeds, etc.), while the juice is highly concentrated. If the juice of the harvested grapes contained say 22% sugar, after partial freezing, the sugar content may be 50% or more. Also, acid content increases, providing a tingly charm to accompany what will become a sweet dessert wine.
The Rest of the Story
Germany has been the leading producer of ice wine. My son worked in a Frankfurt wine shop and brought me a treasured "Eiswein" some years ago. I've been an aficionado ever since.
Happily, ice wine production has come to North America since then. Canada is the leader, but the U.S.A. is on the way. My panel just tasted one made by Oregon's King Estate. It's our...
Wine of the Day
An Icewine, or "Vin Glacé"
At Johns Hopkins University, Dr. G. Hamilton Mowbray conducted research in psychology at the school, and in cold-weather viticulture at home. A record freeze in 1974 partly froze his precious grapes, which he crushed anyhow. The result? Professor Mowbray made America's first ice wine! (Leon Adams, The Wines of America)
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This page created March 2000