Grapes frozen on the vine are handpicked in the still of a mid-winter night and quickly pressed to release their intense flavours. The challenges of manufacturing icewine make it very rare and valuable as it can only be made in a few select parts of the world. The region of Niagara has traditionally been known for wine and romance the world over. Creating many of the worlds best icewines, Niagara has become more than just the honeymoon capital of the world. This mix-media painting of watercour and arcylic bridges the gap between the worlds of art and wine and again highlights Niagara for its beauty and uniqueness. The female cardinal so common to the Niagara region, reigns majestically above the frozen grapes of icewine treasure below.
It is because it is so difficult to produce, that icewine is considered so valuable. Nestled between two of the Great lakes and hidden below an escarpment, the Niagara region has the perfect climate for creating this rare wine. Yet despite the ideal climate, not all grapes can make icewine. Only the thick-skinned, late maturing varieties such as Riesling and Vidal can withstand the strain of freezing. Approximately one kilogram of ripe grapes produces sufficient juice to ferment into one bottle of wine. The liquid is too cold to ferment so a special yeast is added to activate the process. Due to the high sugar levels, fermentation is very slow and can take months. Once bottled, the amber wine has the capacity to age for more than a decade. Ontario icewine captured France's highest award possible, the Grand Prix d'Honneur at Bordeaux's Vinexpo in 1991.