Grand River Valley
Ice Wine Festival
The Ice Wine Festival is held annually in MARCH. All of the wineries that have their own ice wine take part in the festival by offering customers samples along with appetizers to complement the Ice Wines. At South River, in lieu of the appetizer, we give customers an ice wine glass as a souvenir along with samples of our Concord and Blush Ice Wines.
This year's festival takes place on the first three Saturdays of March from 12:00-5:00:
The cost is $6 per person at each winery. ($5 if you bring in a canned good that goes to our local food bank)
Ice Wine is called such because the grapes literally freeze on the vine. What little juice is squeezed out of them produces a sweet wine that can only be described as nectar. The texture or mouthfeel of icewine is unlike any other wine.
We make our ice wine in the tradtional method, leaving them on the vine. (note please make sure the ice wine you are purchasing is not made in a freezer) The grapes need to be exposed to the elements. When they freeze and thaw, freeze and thaw-they break down on a cellular level. Mother Nature makes Ice Wine.
Only when the ambient air temperature ranges is around 18°F, are the grapes actually harvested; always by hand and often between 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. in the morning (by 10:00 a.m., when the sun gets high enough the sky, it gets too warm out). All this is carefully monitored for the sole reason that at this cold temperature, the water crystals within the grapes are frozen solid, leaving the unctuous, sweet liquid juice.
Dessert wines tend to be rich, sweet, and higher in alcohol than conventional wines, and are traditionally served in small, dainty glasses. In some cases, the wine is so intensely rich and sweet that it should actually be served alone. Ice wines are an example of this type of dessert wine. Ice wine is also very crisp and slightly acidic in flavor, because it is not affected with noble rot, like Sauternes, another intensely sweet dessert wine.
of the Grand River Valley
(from left) Gene Sigel, Tony Debevc and Anthony Ferrante show off the ice wines from their vineyards and those of others in the appellation.