It's Time for Icewine

A glass of red Icewine and white Icewine in a snowy vineyard with ice around the rim of each glass

Despite enjoying a mostly mild winter, there have been a few days when frost has blanketed our windows, frigid temperatures have forced us to bundle up like that kid in A Christmas Story, and howling winds have caused serious debate on whether going outside to get the mail can be put off for another day – or month.

To us that means one thing: it’s Icewine season.

About 60 wineries across Ontario – in Prince Edward County, Niagara, Lake Erie North Shore & Pelee Island -- produce Icewine. 

To celebrate the annual harvest, wineries across Niagara throw a month-long party that will see 27 wineries throwing open their doors to teach the public all there is to know about the wine that landed Canada on the serious wine map more than 40 years ago. 

It’s no wonder there’s such hoopla surrounding the harvest.  Making Icewine is not for the faint of heart: everything from bad weather, to pests and animals, to disease & rot can ruin a winery’s crop (and income). Not to mention it’s an expensive and laborious undertaking.

Once it’s cold enough (as in, –12°C cold enough), winemakers are out, often in the dead of night to pick the frozen crop largely by hand.  By this time, the grapes are so withered, one entire vine will only produce enough juice for one glass of Icewine.  For regular table wine, a vine can produce about a bottle. Needless to say, to make Icewine, it helps to be a bit of a risk taker to endeavour in such a business.

Thankfully, many do – and their efforts have made Canada a world leader in Icewine production. It’s become so wildly popular that connoisseur's are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a bottle, though it is possible to find a good selection for as low as $40 a bottle in Ontario. 

Good Icewines are rich & luscious in flavour with pineapple, peach lychee, apricot, ginger and spice with racy acidity to keep them from being too cloying.  They’re delicious on their own, but lovely when paired with blue cheese, foie gras, roasted nuts and custard style desserts.

My sister, Courtney (L) and me at the Icewine festival in 2012

If you’re still wondering what the big deal is, here’s a few cold, hard facts:

This blog was first published on in 2012 and has been updated for clarity. 




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Thank you so much for everything I will definitely use your services again.
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Thank you very much for your services. Everyone had a fantastic time and loved everything! Thank you again for a successful event and making me look oh so good.
[They] quickly engaged our group with our wine themed engagement party. Guests were lined up all evening for the experience. [They] very willing to involve guests in tasting discussion. We are all a little more wine savvy - thank you The Wine Sisters
Thank you very, very, very much for the outstanding planning and support you gave in making this event an absolute success. People were just having a fantastic time and the set-up and style were absolutely brilliant. I think we got what we exactly wanted. I will reach out again!
Everybody had a ton of fun and we very much see this structure as a template we can use with clients and friends in the future.
The event was a huge success! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the group was quite engaged. The wine was also delicious! Thank you so much! I hope we can work together on another event in the future!

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