Why Michigan's Climate Is Perfect For Producing Ice Wine
By Heidi Chaya
Ice wine is a wine made from grapes that are picked still-frozen, so the sugars and flavorful compounds in the juice are more concentrated. Initially, ice wine was made to take advantage of unexpected frosts and is now regarded as a special, supremely sweet treat available in a wide variety of grapes and vintages; however, it is typically quite expensive.
There are a few states in America that produce ice wine, and as Michigan’s temperatures are frequently below 18 degrees Fahrenheit, it‘s ideal for ice wine production. If it’s colder than that for prolonged periods, the fruit will be too frozen to work with, but Michigan's lake effect snow (created by cold Canadian air blowing across the Great Lakes) protects future ice wine grapes from animals.
To be called ice wine, the grapes must have been partially frozen on the vine before the harvest and cannot be thawed before harvesting. The grape-picking window is so short and specific that it has to be done by hand, and because it’s only available during the right conditions, you might want to buy and reserve a few bottles that will appreciate in value.