By Heather Rader
Posted On: Jan 21, 2022
During the winter, a special wine is produced in Northeast Ohio. Ice wine, a dessert wine, is only produced in cold climate wine-growing regions such as Germany, Austria, Canada, and a few states along Lake Erie, including Ohio.
The frigid winter temperatures of Northeast Ohio create a unique microclimate that allows Ohio winemakers to grow grapes and make remarkable ice wines. Ice wine is made with grapes that have been frozen while they're still on the vine. This is because the sugars in the fruit, unlike water, do not freeze.
While the grapes themselves are frozen, it's possible to concentrate their flavors when it's time to harvest. Harvesting the grapes is a cold job as the temperature needs to be consecutively under 17°F. The frozen grapes are picked in the early morning and pressed quickly to get a juice high in sugar which is made into ice wine.
With a dozen Ohio wineries producing ice wine throughout Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake counties, winter is the perfect time to visit the Grand River Valley region, also known as Ohio Wine Country. The sweetness of ice wine pairs well with sweet desserts, strong cheeses, spicy and rich foods.
Visit a few wineries to sample different varietals and unique flavored ice wines, like Maple Ice Wine or Habanero-infused Ice Wine and see which style of ice wine you prefer. There's an Ohio ice wine to satisfy every palate!
If you're looking to taste Ohio ice wines, but not sure where to begin, the 2022 Grand River Valley Ice Wine Festival (March 1-31) is a great opportunity to sample ice wines with perfectly paired appetizers.
A winter visit to Ohio Wine Country has numerous perks as during the winter months the region is less crowded, it's possible to interact with winery owners and winemakers, lodging prices are less expensive and a cozy fireside is the perfect location to stay warm and to sip on a glass of Ohio wine.
While wineries may be the main attraction, the region also has breweries, distilleries, numerous parks to explore, dozens of covered bridges to admire, spectacular frozen sunrises or sunsets on Lake Erie and local communities to discover.
A weekend getaway to Ohio Wine Country is the perfect escape from the winter blues!