From Our Editors
Though most people may picture winemakers among sunny coastal knolls, Jamie Macfarlane can often be found staying up late each December, waiting for the thermometer to hit -8 degrees Celsius. It's at that point—frigid, quiet, dark—that Jamie knows his Vidal grapes are ready for harvest. Left to freeze, thaw, and freeze again, the grapes have already matured throughout the season, allowing the robust notes of pear, peach, cherry, plum, fig, and honey to develop under the outer layer of stone-cold skin.
Once the mercury hits -8 degrees, Jamie and his team head out to the vines to handpick the grapes while they're still frozen. They rush them to the winery, press them through the night, and transfer the concentrated must to the fermenting tanks before the sun rises and demands its keg of morning coffee. The Ice House Winery grows Vidal, Cabernet, and Riesling varietals. In 2016 three of their wines, the Northern Ice Cabernet Franc Icewine 2014, Gewürztraminer Icewine 2013, and Riesling Icewine 2013 were chosen as Gold Monde Selection Winners. In the tasting bar at The Ice House Winery, visitors can peer at these batches-in-progress as they lean on a rough-cut support beam or barrel table, listening to Jamie spin yarns about the days when his grapes were still young and in diapers.