Iced Wine Market Warming Up in Australia

Iced wine or ice wine was first launched in Australia in 1995 in the form of an Iced Riesling and was produced by Andrew Hood in Tasmania under the Wellington brand of wines.

It was marketed as a desert wine and quickly developed a small but loyal following and when the boutique winery was acquired by Frogmore Creek they starting producing a new version of Iced Riesling under a new label around 2004.

Ice wine grapes

Ice wine grapes

Following this, the Coal River Valley winery added an Iced Gewurztraminer in 2010 and 2011 to their dessert wine list. But the problem for iced wine in Australia is the climate isn’t cold enough to freeze the grapes on the vine, so Frogmore Creek started using a freezing technique known as cryo-extraction that relies on using grapes with a higher sugar content that are ripe and ready for wine making. This is because ripe grapes will have a higher sugar content than non ripe grapes. Plus ripe grapes will freeze a lot quicker and the juice will have a higher concentration of sweetness and flavour ready for production.

As with all new industries, products and wine varieties and styles there needs to be a pioneer and after proof of concept other wineries will follow. Redbox Wines from the Yarra Valley in Victoria Australia is one of these wineries and have produced an Ice Cabernet and Ice Riesling using a free reduction technique made for the process. And over on the west coast of Australia a winery in the Margaret River called Fraser Gallop Estate will soon release their first iced wine in the form of an Iced Pressed Chardonnay.

Iced wine is still in its early stages in Australia and wineries are testing the size of the market. So the story of ice wine in Australia is still in it’s early stages and if you haven’t tasted iced wine before it has an intense flavour you’ll be glad you added to your dessert wine list.

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