As the name suggests, ice wine is a typically winter product whose origin is highly controversial.
Some think that ice wine was born in Franconia (a region of Germany) in 1794 when in the town of Wurzburg during the harsh winter, the winemakers realized that the grapes left over from the harvest and now frozen were not yet compromised by mold and could be quickly harvested and pressed to give rise to a particularly sweet and tasty must. But there is no certainty that this was the first episode of the birth of the icewine as Pliny the Elder, a Roman historian and military from 23-79 AD. talks about the harvest of frozen grapes, and the poet Marco Valerio Marziale, his contemporary, also talks about it.
In any case, nowadays the country that produces Icewine the most is Canada, followed by Austria, Germany where it is called Eiswine, although in Italy, as in other countries, there are still little known production companies.
For obvious reasons, the production of Ice wine is the prerogative of cold areas and Canada lends itself a lot as the stability of the cold climate guarantees its production every year, unlike other areas where this does not happen. The product, however, is becoming more and more of a niche as very often the strict regulations related to winemaking do not leave interesting earnings to wine producers and often they convert the production of the ice wine to classic sweet wines.
In any case, the initially rare production of this sweet nectar became more and more appreciated from 1960 onwards, when Hans George Ambrosi, returning to Germany after studying winemaking while living in South Africa, began its diffusion with his winery in Rhineland (Germany).
A handful of years later, in 1973, Walter Hainle, a German who emigrated to Canada, brought with him the necessary know-how and began to produce the first Canadian Icewine. However, we have to wait until 1991 when the Canadian producer Inniskillin won the first prize at the Vinexpo in Bordeaux.