The Ice Festival Cometh

Feb 9, 2017

Hundreds of people are expected to attend a growing winter event in the Rochester area: the ninth annual New York Ice Wine and Culinary Festival at Casa Larga Vineyards.

Winemaker Matt Cassavaugh says ice wine is a desert wine, and the grapes for this year's harvest were actually picked several weeks ago when they were frozen on the vine.

"We got a really nice window this year in December, well before Christmas, I think it was the 14th, and we got 36 hours that were nice and cold. So we were able to get the grapes in actually earlier this year, then we have in the last several years, which is pretty advantageous actually, so we're excited about the ice wines," he said.

Ice Wine festival
Credit casalarga.com

New York is one of the few regions in the world that can produce wine this way, and every producer of natural ice wine in the state is invited to the festival.

Cassavaugh explains some ice wine is made by picking grapes during the harvest, and then freezing them before they are pressed.

"We kind of choose to do it naturally on the vine, because that’s an opportunity that we're presented with in our region naturally. So we choose to take the more natural approach, more traditional method," he said.

Cassavaugh says it's a fun but laborious task that not every winery chooses to do.

The festival, with ice wine recipes, food pairings and more, runs from 11am to 6pm Saturday at the winery in Fairport.

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