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Cold temperatures enable Ice Wine | News

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Cold temperatures enable Ice Wine

MEDINA, N.Y.- Wine maker Jonathan Oakes doesn't get to chose when he collects his harvest. But to create an ice wine, the temperatures Wednesday were perfect.

'We wait until about 18 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of four hours," Oakes said. "That's enough to freeze all the water content inside the berry."

And so for Oakes, and the rest of his family at the Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina, working through the cold temperatures is just one part of making ice wine.

"There are very few places in the world that can do this, we need a temperature throughout the regular season to get us a fully ripen grape," Oakes said.

The grapes used in ice wine are the ones left on the vine after the traditional harvest in the fall. But the timing of that freeze is important. If the freeze comes too late, the berries would rot and the window would close.


"This year we're lucky enough to have a couple of days here, but yeah, typically it is a very short window, a matter of maybe eight hours that we get to harvest it and get it processed and pressed out because we have to keep it at that temperature when we process it," Oakes said

All in all, the family braved the harsh wind chill to harvest a couple tons of grapes that will show up on the shelf as wine a year from now.

"We'll start the fermentation process tomorrow or the day after, we'll press them out this afternoon and then we'll do it very slow, then we'll bottle it, let it sit in the bottle for a little while and then bring it out," Oakes said.

"It's quite a process to pull this off, not a lot of people want to be here at this hour, or this temperature, picking grapes. It's a labor of love so to speak."


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