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In Germany, A Warm Winter Is Affecting Its Ice Wine

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The latest vintage of German ice wine is in, but there's not much of it. Just one vineyard was able to harvest grapes for the sweet dessert wine.

JENS ZIMMERLE: My name is Jens Zimmerle. I'm the owner of Weingut Zimmerle in Korb in Germany.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Jens Zimmerle is the lucky vintner. The issue this year was that Germany had a warm winter.

ZIMMERLE: We pick the grapes when they are frozen. You must have a minimum level of minus 7 degrees Celsius. The special thing is you have a high level of sugar, so it's very sweet. But also, you have a concentration of the acidity. So you have a sweetness with the freshness and the elegant body.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Zimmerle was only able to produce a little over 20 gallons of ice wine this year, and it all sold quickly. So if you want ice wine, look to Canada, which makes more, though it's not as prized. And with a changing climate, don't assume the German crop will come roaring back.

ZIMMERLE: In the future, there will be less years for producing ice wine. But in our region, in Wurttemburg, now the last 30 years, red wine become more and more famous in Germany for really good red wines because now we have, also, these hot summers and dry summers. For that, we produce now really serious red wines. But ice wine in the next years will be a problem.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Jens Zimmerle began producing ice wine in 2009. He harvested his first ice wine grapes just three days after his daughter was born.

ZIMMERLE: So we called the wine Greta.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, then, a toast to Greta. And here's hoping for a colder German winter next year.

(SOUNDBITE OF DUO COLOQUINTES' "FROBERGER-TOCCATA II EN RE MINEUR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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