Unseasonably warm winters jeopardise ice wine production around the world

Warm winters have put ice wine production 'on ice' this year. — AFP picWarm winters have put ice wine production 'on ice' this year. — AFP picNIAGARA FALLS (Canada), Jan 21 — Abnormally mild winters across North America and Europe means that ice wine production has come to a standstill and will be 'almost non-existent' this year.

In some regions, ice wine makers are seeing their production slashed by 40 per cent, while others have been forced to sit this season out completely, reports industry publication Decanter magazine. And that means that scarcity may drive up prices for consumers.

In Germany, for example, birthplace of the dessert wine, producers said that temperatures in the wine growing region of the Mosel were up to 25 degrees warmer than the same time last year when the mercury dipped down to -16 C.

The minimum temperature for ice wine production is -7 C but an uncooperative weather forecast means that the region will be unable to produce any ice wine at all this year, the German Wine Institute tells Decanter.

Similarly, across the northern US and Canada, production is down 40 per cent. In the Niagara region of Canada, growers have been hit with a double dose of inclement weather as the area also received significant rainfall in autumn.

While producers like Cave Spring and Chateau des Charmes have written off this winter for ice wine production, Peller Estates Winery says they were able to harvest a large portion of their grapes on a single night this month when temperatures fell to -10 C, Decanter reports.

Producers warn, however, that if winters continue to be unseasonably warm in consecutive years, it could wreak havoc with supply and demand and jeopardise the industry.

Meanwhile, Niagara-on-the-Lake's Icewine Festival kicked off January 1 in Canada and wraps up January 31. — AFP-Relaxnews


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