VQA Ontario Icewine on the Vine (CNW Group/Wine Marketing Association of Ontario)

Wineries in Ontario’s Niagara region are expecting better than typical yields from this winter’s icewine grape harvest.

Temperatures in the region dropped below -8 C during the week before Christmas, allowing producers to get at many more of the grapes that were allowed to freeze naturally on the vine for icewine production.

According to Jamie Slingerland, director of viniculture for Pillitteri Estates Winery, by the time an icewine harvest typically takes place in mid-January, about 15 per cent of the total volume of grapes left on the vine usually have either fallen to the ground or been eaten by birds.

It will take several days of temperatures below -8 C to get all the grapes available, Slingerland said, but if current forecasts for cold conditions hold, an early harvest would be “a windfall for our entire industry.”

(Photo courtesy Wine Marketing Association of Ontario)

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