The short film below is the seldom seen icewine harvest, since it can be unpredictable, as we found when trying to film it.
We interview Inniskillin’s director of viticulture Gerald Klose, revelling in his retelling of the early days of their icewine harvests, working side-by-side with Karl Kaiser, before Klose came up with the idea of using machines. Says Klose of the time before machines, "The first night we'd get 60 people to pick the grapes, the second night, 30 and then maybe 15 the third night." The long waits and intense weather conditions are still a part of harvesting icewine where the temperature must be a minimum -8 celsius from the picking to the pressing.
We got a lesson in just how stressful the harvest can be as we stood by waiting to capture footage of both the harvest and the pressing. The forecast would look as though it would be cold enough right up to the evening before, but at the last minute, winemaker Bruce Nicholson and Klose could no longer be sure that they would have the temperatures they needed for the duration of the harvest and would have to cancel.
It happened to be an unusually warm January, and as February approached where other committments loomed, we were beginning to believe we were not going to be able to finish our film. Finally, after more than a week of daily phone calls and texts with Klose, a strong cold front arrived and we were able to capture the footage we needed. Thank you so much to Nicholson and especially Klose for making the filming possible. Thank you also to John Petrella, our cinematographer, who was on standby and had to wake up in the early morning hours to be ready to film at 5:30 am in temperatures that dipped, with the wind chill, below -12 celsius. Further, he had one chance to get it right. We think it was worth it, and we hope you agree.
For our complete story on icewine, links to episode one on the history of icewine in Canada, and episode three, cooking with icewine, are below the video.
Part Three: Cooking with Icewine