Canadian Icewine

Canada is recognized as the world’s largest and highest quality producer of Icewine.

On February 12, 2014, the Government of Canada published its Standard of Identity for Icewine within the Canada Agricultural Products Act (SOR/2014-10). The regulation states, “Only wine that is made exclusively from grapes naturally frozen on the vine is “icewine”“ice wine” or “ice-wine”.

Icewine produced in Canada is required to meet the standard, as determined by a provincial authority that has verified that the product is wine that was made exclusively from grapes naturally frozen on the vine. Four of Canada’s wine producing provinces – Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia – have already established acceptable provincial regimes, which meet the new federal standard and follow international protocols.

The Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) is the legal owner of the Canadian “Icewine” trade-mark and actively protects the integrity and authenticity of Icewine in Canada, while working hard to deter counterfeit Icewine in global markets.

CVA’s Canadian Icewine Standards of Production

  • 100% of the grapes shall be grown in Canada within a defined geographical indication that is a Province or a region smaller than a Province.
  • The wine shall be produced entirely from grapes, naturally frozen on the vine, picked while the air temperature is -8°C or lower and immediately pressed after picking in a continuous process while the grapes are still frozen.
  • The geographical indication within which the grapes were grown shall be shown on the label and the pressing shall take place within the geographical indication where the grapes were grown.
  • The concentration of sugar in the grape juice, grape must or wine by any chemical or physical means is prohibited.
  • Artificial refrigeration of the grapes or artificial refrigeration of the juice, must, or wine is prohibited at any point in the manufacturing process except for tank cooling during fermentation and/or during cold stabilization prior to bottling.
  • The Brix level of the juice after each pressing shall be at least 32° when measured after transfer to the fermentation vessel.
  • The finished wine shall be produced from a must that achieves a computed average of not less than 35° brix.
  • The residual sugar at bottling shall result exclusively from the natural sugar of the grapes and shall be not less than 100 g/L.
  • The wine shall have an actual alcoholic content not less than 7.0% and not greater than 14.9% by volume.
  • The actual alcohol shall result exclusively from the natural sugar of the grapes.
  • The production of the wine shall be monitored so that the producer can provide the information required to verify compliance with production standards.
  • The wine must be entirely fermented, processed, blended, finished, bottled and labelled in Canada.
  • The wine must be produced and labelled as a vintage dated wine.
  • Analytical maximum limit requirements are as follows: Total SO2 400 ppm, Free SO2 70 ppm, Volatile Acidity 2.1 g/L

Facts about Icewine:

  • Icewine in Canada is produced entirely from grapes, naturally frozen on the vine, picked while the air temperature is -8°C or lower and immediately pressed after picking in a continuous process.
  • The most common grape used for icewine is Vidal; however, numerous other grape varieties are increasingly being used.
  • Icewine first appeared on the Canadian market in 1978, resulting in the first commercial release by Hainle Vineyards from the Okanagan.
  • Inniskillin’s 1984 vintage won gold at the 1986 Intervin International Competition, and in 1991, Inniskillin put Canada on the wine map with their 1989 Icewine, capturing the illustrious Grand Prix d’Honneur at Bordeaux’s VinExpo.
  • Ontario is Canada’s largest exporter of Icewine valued at $17.1 million followed by British Columbia at $1.8 million
  • In 2016, Icewine represented 24.2% of total export value ($19.4 million) and 0.5% of export volume (336,355 litres)
  • China is the number one export market for Canada, with over $6.5 million of Icewine (157,879 litres) exported in 2016.
  • The top 10 Icewine export markets in 2016 were China, the United States, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and Germany, representing 97.9% of Icewine export sales volume. For detailed Icewine export statistics, click here.