Temperatures in Germany have been exceptionally low this December and it has enabled many winemakers to harvest grapes for ice wine, Germany’s fabled treasure. I have written about ice wine in the past (here) but there is no way to better understand what makes this wine so special than actually seeing under what conditions the grapes are harvested and then processed. I came across this video by the Rheingau winery Schloss Vollrads (Germany’s oldest continuing winery, see here) yesterday and I was just completely in awe once again about what these harvesters go through to produce tiny quantities of absolute deliciousness.
Maybe this will help you understand what the myth surrounding German ice wine is. Remember, in order to harvest ice wine it has to be below -7 degrees Celsius (19.4 degrees Fahrenheit). In the middle, the guy is talking about how they initially planned to harvest the grapes before sunrise, because it is coldest then. But they had to move it up to midnight because weather forecasts predicted some warm air coming in in the morning. The juice has 195 degrees Oechsle, way above the 110-125 degree threshold it needed to meet.
UPDATE: I just saw photos from the ice wine harvest by Dr. Hermann winery. They expect 200 liters (under 600 bottles) and are really excited that they got to harvest on 12/12/12.