“Tonight’s the right night!” says Nicholas Ferrante, winemaker at Ferrante Winery in Harpersfield Township.
He continues, “I made the decision to allow the grapes to continue to hang until colder temperatures created a solid freeze.”
This decision did not come without consequences. There will be a loss in yield due to shriveling, decomposition, & animals such as deer and raccoons eating the grapes through the netting. Despite the lower yield in fruit, the flavors will be more concentrated resulting in an exceptional wine. The cold of Northeast Ohio brings out the sweet nectar frozen on the Vidal Blanc vines in snow laden vineyards. This creates a microclimate that allows Ohio winemakers to grow grapes and make exceptional ice wines.
“We were among one the first ice wine producers in the area.” says Nicholas Ferrante.
The grapes containing the sweet nectar will be mechanically harvested, squeezed and pressed early into the morning. The long wait and preparation will pay off as temperatures are forecasted to dip below 15 degrees.
Ice wine grapes are normally harvested in late December or January, in fact some ice wine grapes in the region were picked earlier in January where there was a small window of colder temperatures. Despite the colder temperature, Ferrante’s Ice Wine grapes weren’t entirely frozen. The fruit must be properly frozen with temperatures ranging between 12 and 17 degrees to ensure higher sugar content and quality.
Ferrante’s is hoping to yield about 8-10 tons of grapes which will only produce about 300 gallons of wine. The grapes that are picked average 35 brix and will be fermented down to 15% residual sugar. The wine will then be bottled in the Spring of 2013 for your enjoyment!