Wine&more Team

4 Reasons (Not) to Drink Ice Wine


No, we are not talking about putting ice cubes into a glass of wine. These winemakers deliberately leave healthy grapes to freeze on the vine. There is even a maximum allowed temperature for the ice wine harvest and it is minus 7 degrees (-7 ºC or 16°F).



  1. Yes, ice wine winemakers seriously leave those resilient grapes on the vine, for birds and bees and wild beasts to savor. Do you know how much of the yield will be lost? 90%, if lucky! At least! Instead of making some honest dry wine, perverted winemakers are willing to risk it all. Why not become a TikToker if you seek fame and glory? Don`t mind us, eager wine lovers. Just go and look for that noble rot. Indulge your obsession.
  2. Even if you manage to harvest anything, and the requirement for ice wine by Croatian wine law is a maximum of -7 ºC (or colder) three days in a row, how much juice do you think you could get from those frozen grapes? Maybe 10-20% of liquid. Do you know how many presses broke under the pressure of squeezing such “grapes”? It should be called a raisin harvest! 
  3. Price sensitivity and ice wine can hardly fit into the same sentence. One of the first questions from every wine newbie is “Why is ice wine so expensive?”. Because of the extreme yield loss, painfully delicate fermentation that can take months (compared to days or weeks for regular wines), aging process, and almost no juice squeezed from the frosted raisins, the price of ice wine is extravagantly high. Therefore, the bottle size is usually half of the regular bottle. And it’s still as pricey as donkey’s milk.
  4. We get it. You want to show the Chateau d’Yquem to shove it. But remember, it’s not enough to have an absurd amount of sugar levels in the wine to be recognized as the finest in the world. Balance is required. Natural acids should concentrate, too. Not every variety can do that. Not every climate. Chateau d’Yquem is a late-harvest dessert wine, not an ice wine. It is a complex wine with fruity overtones gradually fading to integrate with the secondary and tertiary flavors, seemingly effortless and light yet packed with aromas transferring you to another dimension.

Paying close attention? You should, because despite the misleading title, true ice wines are truly not meant to be “drunk”. Their perfumed scent and concentrated fruit flavor taste, invite you to enjoy them with the utmost respect. Ice wine is one of the hardest wines to produce, the pinnacle of late-harvest wines. 

Ice wine belongs in the category of predicate wines, which indicates that the wine has been harvested after the regular harvest period, in an advanced state of ripeness.

Other wines that fit into the category of predicate wines (or dessert wines) are:

  • late harvest,
  • berry harvest,
  • selected berry harvest,
  • selected dried berry harvest.

History of ice wine

According to the official records available, ice wine occurred by accident during a particularly cold winter of 1794 in Franken, Germany. The freezing weather surprised the winemakers, who had no choice but to finish the wine grape harvest. A slow fermentation process resulted in wines with an amazingly high sugar level, along with a unique flavor. 

What is so special about ice wine?

Ice wine, also referred to as Eiswein in German, is an exceptional dessert wine that is produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The production of this luxurious beverage is a daunting task, requiring specific weather conditions and climates. 

Still, some may ask “How is ice wine different from wine?”. Making ice wine requires an immense commitment, demanding precision and care every step of the way. As a result, the creation of ice wine remains a remarkable feat, reserved only for those willing to accept the challenge and dedication it requires.

As winter approaches, winemakers are keeping a close eye on their grapes, making sure they are in the best condition for the upcoming season. This requires year-round monitoring to ensure the health of the grapes. 

During the summer and fall, winemakers must be diligent and cut off any unhealthy grape bunches to promote optimal growth. As the temperatures drop, the remaining grapes on the vine undergo a natural process of losing moisture and shrinking, which intensifies their flavors and sugars. This careful attention to detail by winemakers results in an exquisite wine that wine enthusiasts can savor and appreciate.

Unlike traditional winemaking, ice wine grapes are left to freeze on the vine, creating a concentrated and intense flavor that is highly sought after by wine enthusiasts. 

This is due to the fact that a grape berry contains approximately 80% water, which is retained as shards of ice when the frozen berries are pressed. This allows for small amounts of concentrated juice to slowly flow out, resulting in a highly concentrated and flavorful wine. 

In fact, the juice from ice wine grapes yields only about one-fifth of the amount that would normally be obtained from pressing unfrozen grapes. To put it into perspective, instead of a bottle, you get a mere glass of – ice wine

Which country is famous for ice wine?

Canada is the most famous and a world’s largest producer of ice wine. Followed by Germany, US, and Austria. China is becoming a hit with it too. 

What food do you serve with ice wine?

A newbie in the late harvest and ice wines, in particular, should be aware that you cannot enjoy ice wine properly unless cooled down to 10 ºC, to give it more freshness and lift. Regarding food pairing, on its own after a meal (think of it as dessert in a glass). 

The rule is to serve this rich, sweet wine with a dessert that is a bit lighter and less sweet, or with something savoury and full-flavoured for balance. Serving it with a too-rich or too-sweet dessert doesn’t allow you to enjoy its merits. 

But, if you have foie gras or ripe blue cheese, you should feel free to invite us over.

Croatian ice wine

The harvest of these precious sweet berries belongs to the peak of wine production. The prerequisite for ice wine status by Croatian Law on wine is:

  • harvesting the grapes at a temperature below – 7 °C (16°F) that lasts for at least three days,
  • the berries must be frozen while they are being processed,
  • such must contain at least 127 Oechsl. 

This kind of harvesting usually takes place at the end of December or the beginning of January. Lots of sunshine and little rainfall during autumn favor high percentages of grape sugar, which are thought to be perfect conditions for excellent ice harvest. Few wine-growing regions situated in the continental part of Croatia can boast of such conditions.

Bodren winery

Source: Bodren winery

An invite will be well received so we might bring a bottle from the most prominent ice wine producer in Croatia – Bodren winery, whose ice wines have repeatedly won some of the most prestigious trophies in the wine world.

Bodren became a synonym for top-quality wine predicates. The winery has spread its vineyards in a region of absolute ecological attributes, on rested hills of the gentle Hrvatsko Zagorje in the Croatian Uplands wine region.

Ice wines from Bodren winery have a concentrated, harmonious aroma like honey from a meadow. Vibrant acidity balances out the sweetness, giving these wines a light and refreshing feel. 

Imagine sipping on a wine that has just the perfect touch of botrytis and feels refreshingly light. That’s what these dessert wines are all about! Made in limited quantities from hand-picked grapes that are carefully chosen and ripened to perfection, they’ve got that extra something. And the best part? The low alcohol content makes it feel “medicinal.”

Predicate wines from Bodren winery are:

  • Bodren Cuvée Sweet,
  • Gewürztraminer Selected Dried Berry Harvest,
  • Chardonnay Ice Wine,
  • Bodren Rhein Riesling Ice Wine,
  • Bodren Cuvée Ice Wine,
  • Triptych Ice Wine,
  • Pinot Gris Ice Wine.

Iločki podrumi winery

Source: Ilok winery

Another notable producer of ice wine in Croatia is Iločki podrumi winery, a Croatian winery with a wealth of knowledge and tradition. Over time winery harvested an immense amount of awards and recognition, making them a symbol of Croatian wine-making culture.

The winery specializes in producing dessert wines from Graševina and Gewürztraminer grape varieties. Wines come from the vineyards positioned on the western slopes of Fruška Gora, which gently descend towards the majestic Danube river. A visit to these award-winning cellars should definitely be on every wine enthusiast’s bucket list!

Iločki podrumi winery produces highly prized predicate wines from Gewürztraminer (also known as Traminer) grape variety in all predicate categories:

Kutjevo winery

Source: Kutjevo winery

Kutjevo has a 200-year tradition of ice wine production, and the winery itself dates back to 1232. One of the best ice wines in Croatia is certainly produced on the southern slopes of mountains Krndija and Papuk by the Kutjevo winery. They even have ice wines in their archive wine cellar stored for a decade-long aging process available for sale. 

Some of the most awarded Kutjevo predicate wines are:

  • Kutjevo Gewürztraminer Ice Wine,
  • Kutjevo Graševina Ice Wine.

Check out our story of the oldest Croatian winery here!


Ready to indulge in the delightful flavors of Croatian wines? Look no further! Our carefully curated selection will transport you to the picturesque vineyards of Istria with every sip.

Need help figuring out where to begin? These mixed cases offer is the perfect opportunity to explore and uncover your new favorite bottle. Prepare to savor the unique and bold characteristics of Croatian wines!

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