ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Can you explain to me what ice wine is? I thought it had to do with when the grapes are harvested—or am I completely wrong?

—Judi C., Elizabethtown, Ky.

Dear Judi,

You're on the right track. Ice wine (sometimes spelled "icewine" or, in German, eiswein) is a dessert wine that's made from grapes that were frozen while still on the vines. Since the water in the grapes freezes but the sugars and other dissolved solids don't, the result is a very concentrated and sweet wine. There are also "non-natural" ice wines, when grapes are picked and then frozen mechanically. Sometimes these are referred to as "icebox wines" or "iced wine" to give them a slight distinction from the original.

—Dr. Vinny


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