Northern Michigan Ice Wine:
Northern Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula is perfectly suited for the growing and harvesting of grapes for ice wines. The shape and location of the Leelanau Peninsula is one important factor in producing ice wines. The long, somewhat narrow shape provides a superior micro-climate. Leelanau is surrounded by Lake Michigan on three sides, and is perfectly buffered from harsh weather which allows for a gradual freeze.
Located right on the 45th Parallel, Leelanau is on the same latitude as some of the best wine growing regions in the world including the Rhone Valley in France, the Piedemont in Italy, and the Williamette Valley in Oregon.
"Our region is extremely well suited for the production of ice wine because of our unique climate. Many of the ice wines from Northern Michigan wineries consistently rival others from the great ice wine producing regions around the world," says Black Star Farms winemaker Lee Lutes.
Ice wine or 'eiswein', from it's German origins, is a rare and wonderful dessert wine that requires special care and skill. Limited quantities of healthy grapes are left on the vine until conditions are right for an ice wine harvest. This can occur anytime from November to the first of the year. The labor-intensive harvest requires picking grapes that have frozen on the vine by hand, often before the sun has risen. Quantities harvested are small, and the grapes must also be pressed while frozen, providing a concentrated grape juice that gives ice wine a deep sweetness that is balanced by high acidity.
Due to the labor intensive harvest and small quantities of suitable grapes, ice wines are generally rare and expensive. Here are some of our Leelanau Peninsula Ice Wines, which we hope you will get a chance to sample:
Black Star Farms: A Capella Riesling Ice Wine
Verterra: Vignoles Ice Wine, NorthPole
Price: $40 (375ml)
Good Neighbor Organics: Organic ice wine
45 North: Icebox Gewurtztraminer
Longview: Winter Ice
Bel Lago: Pinot Grigio Ice Wine 2011
release date: Spring 2012