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May 30, 2022 View:

Canadian ice wine may become a rarity in 2020 vintage

Canada is a world-renowned premium ice wine producing region, with a history of ice wine making dating back to the 1970s, which began to be produced in quantity in the 1980s and gradually developed into a popular product in the market. Today, Canadian Icewine is exported to over 75 countries around the world. Most Canadian ice wine is produced in Lake Ontario near Niagara Falls, where the extremely cold winter weather (at least -8C) provides ideal conditions for making ice wine, making it a superior ice wine region to Germany, Austria and the United States.

Image courtesy of: WineHub

The year 2020 will be an extraordinary year for the world, and for this Canadian ice wine region, the 2020 vintage will be one of the most exceptional in its history. According to the VQA Ontario, the amount of grapes retained to make ice wine in this vintage is the lowest it has been in 20 years, with 46 vineyards producing a total of 1,068,000 kg, less than 1/3 of the average yield of previous years.

Low yields often result in high quality wines. A good vintage means good fruit and correspondingly better wines, says Katie Dickieson, winemaker at Peller Estates, a leading Canadian winery, and 2020 could be an extremely rare vintage for collectors.

The high quality and low volume may make the 2020 vintage of Icewine a wine collector"s fight to get their hands on. Château Piller is producing 25-30% less than usual this vintage, as are several other wineries.

Arterra Wines Canada Inc. is the world's largest producer and exporter of ice wine, with its premium brands including Inniskillin, Canada's oldest ice wine winery. Randy Dufour, vice president of exports for Arterra Wines Canada Inc. said that while the production of Verdell is still relatively significant, the ice wines made from Cabernet Franc and Riesling are more limited, so wine lovers who are interested in collecting may need to pay more attention.

The low production of Canadian Icewine in the 2020 vintage was influenced by two main factors. One, overall grape production was lower than in previous years, and most wineries used more grapes for regular table wines, thus leaving fewer grapes on the vine over the winter, resulting in a low overall ice wine production situation. Secondly, due to the impact of the epidemic, ice wine sales through tourism and airport duty-free stores were greatly affected, resulting in larger ice wine stocks and many wineries strategically reducing their ice wine production for the 2020 vintage, or even choosing not to produce ice wine. Donald Ziraldo, a pioneering Canadian ice wine winery, has deliberately reduced production for the year, expecting to produce half the 6,000 bottles produced in previous years, but the quality is excellent, the owner said.

The extraordinary nature of the 2020 vintage has created an exceptional Canadian Icewine production for that year, but things are rare and the 2020 vintage may see a more robust market.