To produce the Cabernet Franc Icewine Inniskillin the frozen grapes were pressed immediately after picking. After cold settling for seven days, the juice was racked and inoculated using a specially selected strain of yeast. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks for 21 days at an average temperature of 15ºC before bottling.
The Cabernet Franc grapes are harvested from selected vineyards in Niagara on the Lake. The Niagara Peninsula is considered a cool climate viticulture region and the mineral-rich soils are the result of melting glaciers that left behind large and varied deposits of gravel, sand and clay, as they receded approximately 13,000 years ago. Thanks to the warming influence of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, the region’s temperatures during the fruit ripening phase are moderate and consistent.
Inniskillin is now synonymous with top-quality Icewine, a fact underlined by the numerous awards they have won: these are the wines that have put Canadian Icewine on the map. The Winert was established in 1975 by Austrian chemist Karl Kaiser and Italian-Canadian agriculture graduate Donald Ziraldo, Following Kaiser’s retirement in 2006, Bruce Nicholson joined Inniskillin in Niagara as senior winemaker. Born and raised in the Niagara Peninsula, Bruce sits on the technical committee of the Vintners’ Quality Alliance in Ontario (VQA) and the committee for Sustainable Winemaking of the Wine Council of Ontario. Bruce has become Canada’s most awarded winemaker, with many awards including the Gran Premio from Vinitaly for his Icewine, in addition to being twice named Top Winemaker at the San Francisco International Wine Challenge. The harvest of the precious Icewine grapes cannot begin until temperatures drop below -8°C for a sustained period of time. Inniskillin does not pick at temperatures warmer than -10°C, which reduces yields and increases quality; the frozen clusters are often harvested in the cool of night. The grapes are pressed immediately while their water content is frozen in crystals, leaving only a few coveted drops of concentrated, intense liquid, which is then fermented slowly over the following months to become Icewine.