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Harvest as in old time

A harvest day

Our harvest

Our wines

By definition, the ice wine requires extreme climatic conditions that limit production to the northern regions as the "cryoextraction" requires a temperature of at least -7 °. The gel holds when all the water contained in the grains and only the juice sweet, very concentrated and rich in flavor out of the press. Long famous in Germany (Mosel, Saar, Rheingau) and Austria, Eiswein then found a new local favorite in Canada. Unlike these countries, France does not formally recognize the name "ice wine".

Very few French winemakers therefore engage in what appears to be a risky and unprofitable. Indeed, let up grapes as long and without any certainty that the good weather conditions and plant health will be successful, requires nerves of steel or ... because a lot of philosophy that success is far from assured.


That is why our field is the only one in France to try this adventure every year since 1990 (except 2003 because of the extreme earliness of maturity of the grapes). We do indeed reached our goals less than once in two (1990, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008). This is the year 1999, which put the most our patience, since the harvest of ice could not be reached until 28 January 2000!

But pleased to get the occasional extraordinary wine (this is especially the case when the clusters have also been affected by noble rot) after harvest out of the ordinary is in fact largely the risk. What a joy also for the wine to see its customers and friends coming to brave the cold at night (and often during the Christmas period) and leave early in the morning excited to have contributed to the production of a rare nectar.

We describe below examples of some of our latest harvest of ice.



Frozen grapes with noble rot.

Ice Harvest 2008

It is 6:30 on Tuesday December 30 when our team of pickers went on a plot of forty acres of sylvaner on the Hill Stroendel (which adjoins the Zinnkoepflé). In passing before the city hall Soultzmatt, everybody noticed temperature: -9 °. The conditions of a real ice harvest are satisfied.



Throughout the harvest, it was dark and the headlights of vehicles ranks and illuminating headlamps worn by the regulars, it was not possible to distinguish grapes.


The ice harvest has just ended and everyone admires the sunrise on the Vallée Noble still.


 It's time mulled wine and prognoses about the quality of raw harvested.


First verdicts in the cellar: beautiful aromas and 18.8 ° potential alcohol thereby enabling it to claim sylvaner widely among Selection de Grains Nobles ... if that name existed for this variety (point: 16.4 ° are required for a Riesling SGN)!




Ice Harvest 2007

 2007 will undoubtedly be remembered as a new atypical year. Indeed, the very early spring announced a harvest for late August. Finally, the freshness and the summer rainfall have led to the delay. We took as beautiful months of September and October allowed the grapes to reach excellent ripeness.

Dans l'espoir de pouvoir conserver certaines parcelles jusqu'aux gelées, nous les avons couvertes de filets pour les protéger des oiseaux et nous avons veillé attentivement à l'évolution de leur état sanitaire après avoir procédé à des tries sélectives. In hopes to keep some plots to set aside, we have covered with netting to protect them from birds and we have watched closely to changes in their health after tries to selective.

C'est ainsi que nous avons pu une fois encore récolter du sylvaner et du gewurztraminer en vin de glace les 19 et 21 décembre 2007 dans les mêmes conditions que celles qui sont décrites ci-dessous pour 2005. Thus we have once again harvest sylvaner and gewurztraminer ice wine in the 19 and 21 December 2007 under the same conditions as those described below for 2005.


Ice Harvest 2005

Unlike 2003, it was atypical, where it was impossible to keep the grapes to the great cold, but as the year we tried again the bet. The nature has given us reason as the "bioclimatic miracle" happened: in the plot of gewurztraminer we kept in nets for the preservation of birds, the grapes acquired surmaturité expected.

Therefore, it was enough to wait until the mercury down to -7 °, the temperature required to produce "ice wines". This completed the morning of 29 December, it was -8 ° on the upper Zinnkoepflé, thirty harvesters equipped as if they were going to attack the north face of Annapurna, joined their workstation to 7am so that it was still night.





The beginnings of this vintage had a very surreal air as the rows of vines were barely illuminated by the headlights of tractors and a few flashlights! A glance into the valley again plunged into darkness, offered the spectacle of lights snaking villages like Christmas tree lights.




Seppi Landmann giving instructions for the harvest of extreme




It was better to have good gloves to handle clusters hardened by the freezing and high alpine foot to avoid slipping.




But the lack of wind resulted in bear cold ambient ...




 ... and even better after sunrise.


In mid-morning, an excellent wine and hot kougelhopf...




 ... have contributed in their own way to warm the bodies and hearts.




This year, journalists from FR3 Alsace and the local press, who followed the harvest throughout the morning, showed beautiful images and some enthusiastic testimonials.




In the hood, the grape was a glass block whose chromatic variations seemed to announce the expected aromatic complexity.




Who said ice wine, said icy roads and the need for harvesters to leave the vehicle that brings them back to the cave and help up the slope!




Before the pneumatic membrane press does not draw straws crystallized the precious nectar, the inspector checks the INAO alcohol potential. The verdict of the refractometer does not leave room for doubt: the required minimum (18.2 °) was largely exceeded, it is a Selection of noble rot.




The yield is small: it has returned all in a little over a tonne of grapes for a parcel of 64 acres or about 8 hl / ha! But most important is not here passion surpasses the search for profitability.

Seppi Landmann, just to taste the future "2005 Gewurztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles wines harvested in ice", raises his glass to wish all his friends and clients, and to all those who love the friendliness around ' a great wine, an excellent year in 2006.