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Ice wine harvest later than ever

The grapes for ice wine production have been harvested later than ever this year in Austria. The fruit for the popular dessert wine are normally picked in December at the latest but only now have the temperatures been cold enough for the harvest.

It took some time for the cold temperatures to reach Austria this winter. On Wednesday however temperatures of minus 12 degrees in the wine region of Großriedenthal provided the perfect conditions for the ice wine harvest.

"We normally harvest around 8 December or around the Christmas holidays. That it normally time enough", explained the Josef Bauer winemakers in Feuersbrunn. This season is the latest that the harvest has ever taken place.

The ice wine gets its distinctive sweet taste as the grapes are frozen. Whilst the water in the grapes may freeze, the sugars do not, giving a much sweeter and more concentrated taste to the final product.

"The grapes are brought to the pressing house and they are dumped into the press. When pressing one must be careful that there are no lumps of ice", said the winegrowers.  The sugar content is then measured in the juice and must be 25 degrees on the „Klosterneuburgermostwaage" scale which calculates the sugar content.

After this process the juice is then stored for a few months. Only 30 per cent of the harvest is then processed into ice wine, making it a very expensive process. As such you can pay up to 20 Euros for a bottle which can be enjoyed until the Autumn.

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