Making Ice Wine in Northern Michigan

The work is far from done. A truckload of frozen grapes waits to be added to the presser. “Making ice wine is a double-edged sword. It’s incredibly labor intensive,” says Eaker. But at the end of the day, it produces a wine unlike any other. “Ice wine captures the essence of the grape in a refined, concentrated form,” Eaker says. “It’s refreshingly sweet with a high acidity.”

Longview’s 2008 ice wine was bottled and released as Sweet Winter Ice this spring. It tastes like honey with hints of cantaloupe, and earned a double gold medal at this year’s Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition. If Mother Naturecooperates again, the winemakers will bring in the 2009 harvest this month.

To me, ice wine seems a remedy for the soul. The palatable rich taste presents a perfect ending to any meal. “It’s sweet, yet full of finesse. A dessert wine refined,” concludes Eaker. “This ice wine, this farm, it’s a legacy for my grandchildren.” T

Sharon Kegerreis is a freelance writer and photographer. She is co-author of From the Vine: Exploring Michigan Wineries, a 2008 Michigan Notable Book. You may reach Sharon at [email protected] or www.michiganvine.com.

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