21 December 2011
Last updated at 09:41
Icewine grapes freeze and thaw throughout the winter, making the wine sweet and potent - and a valuable export for Canada's vintners.
Charles-Henri de Coussergues, originally from Avignon in France, introduced icewine to Quebec, cultivating the grapes at his Vignoble de l'Orpailleur estate.
The grapes are left on the vine until late autumn. Icewine originated in Germany and Austria, countries known for their cold winters.
When the frost comes, the grapes are harvested and put in nettings on the vineyard. There they will rest for several months, exposed to the elements.
The grapes suffer the cold of the Canadian winter. The water in the grapes will freeze and thaw, concentrating the sugar and flavours in the fruit.
The sugar content determines when the grapes are ready to harvest, and collecting the grapes can only happen when it's cold, at least -8C or below.
Exports of Canadian icewine are soaring. A key market is China, where demand for icewine is growing rapidly. However, Canadian vintners worry that cheaper rivals, who freeze the grapes artificially, could undermine the icewine brand.
Charles-Henri de Coussergues and the finished product. In 2012 he hopes to sell 30,000 bottles of his icewine; he just received a large order from China, and a few days ago sent a large consignment to Japan. Pictures: Yannick Ducret and Vignoble de l'Orpailleur