After a mild and wet winter, the few German wineries that had left grapes on their vines, hoping to produce some Eiswein were finally rewarded. On January 18th and 19th temperatures finally fell to -11°C, creating ideal conditions for Eiswein harvest. Temperatures must at least reach -7°C in order to fulfill the strict rules of Eiswein production in Germany. The deeper the temperatures fall the better the conditions for Eiswein harvesting, since the deeper the berries freeze, the more concentrated the sugar levels in the most, once the berries have been pressed.
However, during the 2015 Eiswein harvest only very small volumes of the precious liquid could be obtained, the wineries harvested volumes ranging from 50 to 300 liters, which is very little even for German Eiswein.
Due to the warm and wet weather during the first months of the winter, most winegrowers had already given up hope of harvesting Eiswein this year. Some of them had harvested their grapes as Beerenauslese, others had lost the harvest due to rot, even if at the beginning of winter all the grapes had been in ideal sanitary conditions for Eiswein harvest. Hence very many estates had made the gamble of leaving grapes on the vines, hoping for early and deep frost to produce some Eiswein.
German Eiswein is a very exclusive elixir. The last Eiswein harvest with some relatively important volumes had taken place back in 2012. German Eiswein usually benefits from extremely high rest-sugar levels reaching about 100 grams and more per liter, however alcohol remains relatively low, and can be as deep as 7% vol which makes Eiswein a very delicate drink, ideal as an aperitif or to be paired with desserts.
Whilst German Eiswein from the Riesling grape is probably the most widely known, German Eiswein may also be produced from other varieties, such as Silvaner, Trollinger, Muskat-Trollinger, Pinot Gris and even from red varieties such as Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.