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4 Reasons Not to Drink Ice Wine

4 Reasons Not to Drink Ice Wine

No, we are not talking about putting ice cubes into a glass of wine. These crazy winemakers deliberately leave healthy grapes to freeze on the vine. There is even a maximum allowed temperature for the ice wine harvest and it is minus 7 degrees (-7 ºC).


1. Are you seriously going to leave those resilient grapes on the vine, for birds and bees and wild beasts to savor? Do you know how much of the yield will be lost? 90%, if lucky! At least! Instead of making some honest dry wine, perverted winemakers are willing to risk it all. Why not become a TikToker if you seek fame and glory? Don`t mind us, eager wine lovers. Just go and look for that noble rot. Indulge your obsession.

2. Even if you manage to harvest anything, and the requirement for ice-wine is a maximum of -7 ºC three days in a row, how much juice do you think you could get from those frozen grapes? Maybe 10-20% of liquid. Do you know how many presses broke under the pressure of squeezing such “grapes”? It should be called a raisin harvest!

3. Price sensitivity and ice wine can hardly fit into the same sentence. Because of the extreme yield loss and almost no juice squeezed from the frosted raisins, the price of ice wine is extravagantly high. Therefore, the bottle size is usually half of the regular bottle. And it’s still as pricey as donkeys milk.

4. We get it. You want to show the Chateau d’Yquem to shove it. But remember, it’s not enough to have an absurd amount of sugar levels in the wine to be recognized as the finest in the world. Balance is required. Natural acids should concentrate, too. Not every variety can do that. Not every climate. Chateau d’Yquem is a late harvest dessert wine, not an ice wine. It is a complex wine with fruity overtones gradually fading to integrate with the secondary and tertiary flavors, seemingly effortless and light yet packed with aromas transferring you to another dimension.

Paying close attention? You should, because despite the misleading title, true ice wines are truly not meant to be “drunk”. They are meant to be smelled like perfume and tasted as concentrated fruit flavor. Ice wine is one of the hardest wines to produce, the pinnacle of late harvest wines.

History of ice wine

According to the official records available, ice wine occurred by accident during a particularly cold winter of 1794 in Franken, Germany. The freezing weather surprised the winemakers, who had no choice but to finish the wine grape harvest. A slow fermentation process resulted in wines with an amazingly high sugar level, along with a unique flavor. 

foie-grasFood pairing and serving

A newbie in the late harvest and ice wines, in particular, should be aware that you cannot enjoy ice wine properly unless cooled down to 12-14 ºC, to give it more freshness and lift. Regarding food pairing, if you have foie gras or ripe blue cheese, you should feel free to invite us over. 

An invite will be well received so we might bring a bottle from the most prominent ice wine producer in Croatia – Bodren, from the Croatian Uplands, whose ice wines have repeatedly won some of the most prestigious trophies in the wine

Nenad Trifunovic
Professional Wine drinker ;)

Moderator of a series of wine workshops and educator of wine course (Wine Reading), promoter of table culture and wine writer, most famous as an author of the most influential Croatian wine blog (

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