A warm winter means that, for the first time in years, German vineyards will not produce Icewine, an expensive golden nectar made from grapes that have frozen on the vine.
The German Wine Institute said on Sunday that none of the country’s wine regions had seen the necessary low temperature of minus 7 ° C.
A succession of warm winters recently reduced the production of icewine, the institute said, noting that in 2017, only seven producers succeeded in doing so, and only five succeeded in 2013.
“If warm winters become more frequent over the next few years, ice wines from German regions will soon become an even more expensive rarity than they already are,” said wine institute spokesperson Ernst Buescher.
Freezing the grapes before they are crushed concentrates the sugar and results in an intensely sweet golden wine, often served with dessert.
It has always been a niche product, around 0.1% of German production, and expensive due to low volumes.
Manufacturing is a delicate matter which can enhance the reputation of the winemaker.
Workers have to rush into the vines to bring back the grapes with only a few hours’ notice when the temperature drops, often at night or in the early morning hours.
Since the grapes must be pressed while they are still frozen, growers work in unheated facilities. Vineyard owners also run the risk that grapes set aside for ice wine will rot on the vine before frost sets in.