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Best served chilled: Grapes harvested in temperatures of -12C for ice wine
18:58 GMT, 9 December 2012
The night is still dark over the vineyards of the Czech Republic as the workers gather for the annual grape harvest.
Working in temperatures of -12C, they harvest up to five tons of grapes between 3am and sunrise, in order to produce ice wine.
Eiswein, which is German for ice wine, is a sweet dessert wine most commonly produced in Germany and Canada, made from frozen grapes.
Rise and shine: Workers at a Czech vineyard attend the 'eiswein fields', where they harvest the frozen grapes
workers follow the standard protocol for eiswein grape harvest which
dictates that they are harvested from the vine during the first
hard freeze (below -7 degrees) since the ripening of the grapes.
is a demanding practice as it means the harvest must take place at night, and completed within a few
hours, before the rising
sun warms up the grapes.
grapes are then pressed cold, whilst the water in the grape is still
frozen. This leads to a much more concentrated grape ‘must’ with a
higher content of sugar.
Nightcaps: The frozen grapes have to be picked before sunrise when the temperature is at its lowest and workers tend the fields from 3am in the morning to make sure the grapes are icy cold
Pinot pain: The group worked in the freezing cold all the way through until daylight in order to pick five tons of Pinot grapes for Eiswein
Keeping warm: A worker adjusts her hood to keep the cold out as she harvests the ice-cube like grapes
Frosty morning: The sun begins to rise over Brno as temperatures show -12C
Sweet tipple: Eiswein has a higher sugar content than other wines as the cold grapes producing less grape juice as they are pressed frozen
workers on vineyards in Bzenia, Bzenec and Mikulov, near Brno in the
Czech Republic, gather on average five tons of grapes during one harvest.
However, despite the great
quantities, the harvest will only produce 1,000 litres of eiswein.
most common grape used for eiswein is Riesling, but other white grapes
such as Cabernet Franc are common in Canada whilst some, such as these
Czech vineyards, produce red eiswein using Pinot Noir.
Due to its high sugar content, ice wine takes longer to ferment and usually has a lower alcohol, content than other wines.
Under pressure: Two female grape pickers tackle the vines to gather the grapes before the temperature rises – and the grapes 'melt'
Risky business: Ice wine production is tricky as growers are forced to leave the grapes on the vines after ripening – risking that they may rot before the frost comes
Heigh-ho: The five tons gathered will only make 1,000 litres of wine
Icy morning: Picking grapes for Eiswein requires a hard freeze to occur after the grapes have ripened – but before they rot