The first winery to produce ice wine in North America — the Okanagan’s Hainle Vineyards Estate Winery — is ripping out its ice wine vines to make room for pinot noir grapes because of changing international tastes.
Hainle Vineyards, located in Peachland, B.C., produced its first bottles of ice wine in 1978, after an early frost froze grapes on some of its vines.
The winery helped the Okanagan Valley become world renowned for the dessert wine. Now, nearly four decades later, Hainle winemaker Walter Huber is pulling out some of the vines used to make ice wine.
“You’ve got to go with what the market wants,” he said. While a bottle of ice wine sells for up to $200, Huber said his high-end pinot noir can fetch a much higher price. “We have no problem selling them from $200 to $1,000,” he said.
Wine writer Shelley Boettcher said Hainle’s move is not surprising. The biggest market for Canadian ice wine is in Asia and according to Boettcher, wine tastes are changing in the region. “We are seeing that Asian market switch to more of a red wine palate as well and looking more and more towards higher-end red wine,” she said.
Despite Hainle Vineyard’s shift out of ice wine, Boettcher believes the market for the dessert wine is still strong. “Ice wine is always going to be special. I mean it is. It’s a magical dessert wine made in a really fantastic way.”
Hainle Vineyards plans to gradually replace its ice wine grapes over the next two years.
For more information on Haine Vineyards visit their website.
Article Credit: CBC News