The Nature of Things·Video

When temperatures are perfect this B.C. winery can make half of its season's profits in just one night

Uniquely Canadian ice wine must be harvested at just the right time in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley

Uniquely Canadian ice wine must be harvested at just the right time in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley

Ice wine is made in a single night at just the right temperatures | Wild Canadian Weather

2 months ago
Duration 2:19
In the Okanagan valley, one winemaker is checking the temperature constantly - at just the right time, frozen grapes are picked to produce ice wine. 2:19

When cold weather hits the B.C.'s Okanagan Valley, most of the grapes at this winery have already been harvested and turned into wine. But about 10 per cent of the vineyard's grapes still cling to the vines, waiting to make a uniquely Canadian drink — ice wine. 

In one night, the winery can make up to 50 per cent of its annual income on this small crop alone, but the conditions need to be just right. That's when head winemaker, Michael Alexander, becomes obsessed.

I check the temperature, probably every five minutes.- Michael Alexander, winemaker

The magic happens when the air temperature drops to - 8 degrees Celsius. Then it's all hands on deck to pick the grapes as fast as possible. At this temperature, all the water inside the grapes freezes, concentrating the sugars to give ice wine its sweet and delicious flavour. 

But time is of the essence: the team must work quickly to collect all the grapes and process them before the temperature goes up again. 

Watch the video above for the full story.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?