Ice wine

Ice wine is a predicate for quality wines. It belongs to the wine - quality level of quality wines.

Eiswein is a high quality, natural sweet wine. The natural frozen concentrate is made from grapes that are harvested and pressed frozen. Subsequently, the highly concentrated must is fermented to ice and reductively usually.

The water contained in the berries crystallized at sustained sub-zero temperatures below -7 ° C mostly from. Only the sugar contained in the grape does not bind crystallized water and fruit acids. Result are highly concentrated, very sweet wine. They usually possess a strong acid which forms a counterweight to intense natural sweetness of these wines.

German ice wines are a particular specialty wine, especially those from the Riesling grape. They enjoy a worldwide reputation as a rare and are counted from wine critics and experts of the wine market to the most valued natural sweet wines.

Also Austria is a traditional country of production of high-quality ice wine. Small amounts of ice can also be produced in Luxembourg. Canadian Icewine is quantitatively the largest production dar. Further, in the U.S. ( Oregon and Michigan ) and made ​​in New Zealand Ice Wine.


Birthplace of the German Eisweines is the community Bingen- Dromersheim. " Probably the very first Eiswein in Germany was read on February 11, 1830 by grapes of the vintage 1829 in Dromersheim near Bingen. "

1829 was actually a bad wine year. When the winery in Dromersheim the first not harvested because of poor quality grapes still picked the middle of winter and after heavy frosts, in order to feed it to the cattle, they found that the grapes may be little but a wonderfully sweet juice with high must weight had. From the then squeezed grapes of ice was formed.

Because of the climatic conditions were Germany and Austria for a long time the only countries where ice wine was produced. Since 1975, however, Canada has also begun production and is now even the world's largest ice wine producer. The special ( and more expensive, as can be produced in lesser amount than many other wines) wine is made primarily from Vidal Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Riesling.


The grapes are left on the vine until the Durchfrostung what can happen until well into February. They must be read and processed in a frozen state. The most important quality criterion in this case, the sugar content of the grapes is considered. It musts have already been measured with more than 250 degrees Oechsle. In Germany and Austria the must weight of the grapes for the production of ice wine must be at least the prescribed must weight of the predicate correspond Beerenauslese. The juice of frozen grapes can only be under appropriate pressure press out - for this reason particularly powerful screw presses are used for Eisweinkelterung mostly used. The result is a small amount of yield, since a large part of the water is left in the frozen grapes.

"For the winemaker, it covers all or nothing, because the ice Poker carries the risk of a total loss, especially this year with its mild late autumn. " Only about 10 percent of the original starting amount resulting ice wine in the bottle. The remaining quantity of grapes is selectively cut out or the unpredictable weather falls victim to circumstances.

Technically, any natural Süßweinherstellung requires a water reduction, concentration of fruit juice; In the conventional method, one simply waits longer with the harvest (hence the term late harvest ) or selects the most ripe berries manually (read ), in extreme cases, until the berries are completely dried like raisins (dry berry selection ). When ice wine, this reduction is mostly due to freezing because the water freezes before the fruit constituents and the further processing of the must concentrate can be separated by physical methods.

In many years, it allows the early ripening of the grapes not to hang on the vine, the ice wine grapes long enough. Beerenauslese can, however, produce in almost every good year.

When pressing on the wine needs to be constantly monitored, as is changing the must weight ( sugar content ) in order to prevent a " watering down ". At extremely high must weights and because of the inevitable prevailing low temperatures there is a risk that the alcoholic fermentation does not take off, so no ice is formed.

This substantially more acid is retained, the reason for the characteristic acid note. Due to the loss of water the yield in the production of ice wine (as with the berries and Trockenbeerenauslese ) is extremely low, this often comes a high proportion of manual labor under adverse conditions ( cold, dark ), which explains the high prices. The reading is carried out usually in the early morning hours because the temperatures are lowest. This has the advantage that the day held heating can accept no significant impact on the condition of the grapes. Basically, early frost possible in November, the ice quality is particularly beneficial. The frost comes, however, until January, then rarely arise fresh and elegant ice wines because the grapes have suffered from weathering and decay is then advanced.

However, this myth of the hard working winery is partly offset. If German ice wines are also offered in discount stores, so this is due to the fact that in the German states of Baden- Württemberg and Rhineland -Palatinate the machine reading is allowed. A hand reading, however, is required in Hesse.

In some countries (eg New Zealand ) is a type Icewine is also " artificially " produced by freezing normally harvested berries. This method is also known as cryoextraction for example in Sauternes for high-class noble sweet white wine: the technical displacing the natural process of frost in the cold store. This method of " frosting " is illegal in Germany.

The Eiswein requires healthy grapes that are not affected by noble rot. Is the health of the grapes not consistently given, there is a risk that forms by acetic acid bacteria volatile acid or acetic acid. If this exceeds the legally tolerated value of 1.2 g / liter for white wine, one speaks of vinegar down and the wine can not be sold.

Ice wine is mostly made ​​from white grapes. Is especially popular in Germany, the Riesling, which can give the very sweet ice wine a particularly elegant acid - sweetness game. Unlike noble sweet specialty wines such as Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese a fresh acidity and intense fruit without botrytis are the ice wine characteristic, which is supported in the preparation by a reductive removal. Ice wine is characterized generally by a relatively low alcohol content and a high concentration of sugar and acid from which it preserves and makes it particularly durable.

Ice wine is bottled, as well as the quality levels from elite upward, usually in 0,375 -liter bottles or half in half-liter bottles. Good ice wines can be stored at proper storage for decades. Here in the bottle, the sweetness is degraded so that ripened ice wines taste less sweet than young.


Even if the grapes are harvested for ice wine until January of the following year, the wine gets the vintage where the grapes are grown. So picked grapes, for example, sold as the 2005 ice in January 2006.

Terms of Use

In Rhineland -Palatinate has existed since 2013 for the ice wine wineries want to read, a notification requirement. The winemakers are required to report the location ( district, corridor and Flustücksnummer ), the area in m² as well as the grape variety of the intended Eiswein harvest until November 15 of the crop year in advance for this purpose. Appropriate wine inspectors check the quality of the grapes. The reporting requirement was necessary because in 2011 a large part of the supposed Eisweines was not recognized by the auditors. In the first year, 102 companies have reported this.