Vineyards in the Okanagan are gearing up to make a record amount of ice wine this year after a cool summer left hundreds of tonnes of underdeveloped grapes on the vines.

According to B.C. Wine Institute spokesperson Lindsay Kelm, this will be one of the best years for production of the dessert wine, which is known for its concentrated flavours.               

"This is a huge year for ice wine in British Columbia, we're expecting 875 tonnes, which is the largest harvest we've ever seen," said Kelm. 

Ezra Cipes at Summer Hill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna said because of a recent cold snap, they began harvesting the grapes for ice wine earlier than ever before, but they still have 30 tonnes of grapes hanging on the vines.

But Cipes says the cost of making ice wine is still very high and so is demand, so consumers shouldn't expect prices to drop, despite the bountiful harvest.

"Ice wine is something that we in the Okanagan Valley can do better than anywhere else in the world."    

Ice wine is made by picking the grapes when they are frozen and pressing the juice out before the ice melts, thus reducing the water content and make the wine sweeter and stronger in both alcohol and flavour.

With ice wines, the freezing happens before fermentation, not afterwards, unlike other Sauternes and dessert wines, which are made from grapes that have fermented on the vines.