A mild winter is chilling ice wine production in Michigan

Jan 6, 2012

This year’s mild winter weather is causing problems for the makers of ‘Ice Wines’ in Michigan.   

Ice wine is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes left on the vine to freeze. The very sweet wine is also very pricey. Michigan ice wines sell for as much $90 per bottle.  But this winter, hard freezes have been few and far between.  

Mark Johnson is the chief winemaker at the Chateau Chantal winery near Traverse City. He said the mild weather has taken a toll on the grapes waiting for the ice wine harvest. 

“We always know there’s going to be a loss," said Johnson, "This year…from what we were hoping…would be a ton and a half…or about 3,000 pounds…we harvested about 1,500.”   

Other Michigan vintners decided not to produce ice wines this season. That may mean the 2011 vintage Michigan ice wines will be harder to find this fall.   

Ice wines comprise about 5 percent of wines produced in Michigan.