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CANADA: Ice wine dries up in hot weather

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Canada's ice-wine industry has suffered a serious blow because of unseasonably mild winter weather. Most wineries in the Niagara on the Lake region in Ontario will see a decline of 50% or more in their ice-wine grape yields.

This December and January have been record-breaking months for heat in
Ontario, with temperatures reaching 14 degrees celcius, not the minus-eight temperatures needed to sufficiently freeze water content in grapes and produce ice-wine.

Paul Speck, chairman of Ontario's Henry of Pelham winery: "It looks brutal. We think we we're down 40 or 50% at least. This time last year we had four times the amount of grapes. Because we have to leave them on the vines for so long, many of the grapes either fall off, rot or get eaten by animals."

However, ice-wine prices will not soar, he predicted. "Freak weather is part of the wine business," said Speck. "I'm being positive about it; it shows people just how rare ice-wine really is."


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