There are some things that are best not to develop a fondness for because it may ruin you, financially because you will spend too much on it and also your enjoyment of life, for you will never be able to enjoy a lesser or ‘similar’ product. Icewine is one of these things.
While it is difficult to determine the origins of this product, the most recent occurrence can be dated back over 200 years to Germany where grapes were harvested after being frozen. Far too sweet for traditional wine standards, Eiswein as it is known there, was produced for generations on a somewhat inconsistent basis, for you see their winters are not consistently harsh enough to guarantee a reasonable yield. Thankfully, there’s Canada.
First started in the 1970s, icewine found success in British Columbia and Ontario due to the warm summers that allow grapes to thrive and the consistent freezing of winter. Now established as a world leader in icewine production, Canada is a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts.
Traditionally sipped as a dessert wine, icewine is, simply put, the nectar of the gods. Each has its own unique taste and hints of different fruit, making each drop a delight for your senses. Truthfully, icewine is too sweet for some people and find it off putting – those are the lucky folks. With the cheapest bottles retailing for $19 per 200ml and ranging to well over $200 for the same quantity, it is a taste you may be better off never experiencing.
The most notable area to visit if you’re interested in icewine production and sampling is the Niagara Peninsula. A few hours from Toronto and a stone’s throw from the U.S. border lies one of the most picturesque towns in existence, Niagara on the Lake, which is the jumping off point to dozens of family owned and privately run wineries. Each winery offers something different, from tours to fine dining to event hosting and accommodations.
Outside of Niagara are many more wineries, including the Lake Erie North Shore region, Prince Edward Country just outside of Belleville on Lake Ontario and Pelee Island – the most southern winery in the country. In addition to these distinct regions, there are a handful of other wineries scattered across the southern part of the province, from just outside of Toronto to Collingwood by Georgian Bay. Many of the smaller and less established wineries have not met the same standards to be included with the likes of Niagara, but you may be surprised to find their product is no less enjoyable and their atmosphere and services impeccable – not to mention a great deal cheaper!
If you’re travelling in Ontario and fancy sampling something truly exquisite, why not stop into a winery, take a tour and pick up a bottle of icewine. You won’t regret it!