Sweet, golden, and full-bodied in the glass, Still River Winery’s apple ice wine [Apfel Eis] is made from a blend of apple varieties coming from Massachusetts orchards. Over 80 apples go into each bottle. Unlike most wines and ciders made from apples, Apfel Eis has absolutely no sugar added during fermentation.
Drinking apple ice wine is an unexpected, satisfying taste sensation delivering a gentle bite and clean finish. Customers love the aromatic fragrance of freshly picked apples that envelopes them as they uncork a bottle. One sip and you’ll find yourself strolling in a New England apple orchard on a crisp fall day.
Ice Wine’s History
Traditional ice wine, also known as Eiswein, is made from grapes that have remained on the vine past the first frost. When the grapes freeze, the frozen water crystals separate out, resulting in a more concentrated juice. This resultant juice now has more sugar, acid and flavor. Fermentation of this concentrated juice produces a deliciously sweet wine. Ice wines tend to be expensive due to their labor intensive production process and relatively low output.
In 1990, Christian Barthomeuf, a French winemaker who had emigrated to Quebec, substituted apples for grapes to make what the Quebecois call “cidre de glace”, or ice cider. Barthomeuf reasoned that the apple was more at home on Canadian soil than the grape, and set out to create a superior ice wine product from apples.
Making Apple Ice Wine
Inspired by apple ice wine producers like Barthomeuf, Still River Winery takes full advantage of the fact that central Massachusetts grows the world’s best apples. Harvard, MA, where the Holtzman’s live and where the winery is located, is rich in thriving apple orchards offering the ideal soil, climate and hours of sunlight for producing the best tasting varieties.
Wade Holtzman, chief winemaker and co-founder of Still River Winery, produces apple ice wine year round via a pressing process that uses no preservatives. The wine is slowly fermented at very cold temperatures to preserve the delicate aromas and flavors. These complex flavors disappear if fermentation takes place quickly and at warmer temperatures.
At the farmer winery, Wade separates out the frozen water crystals from icy pressed cider before fermentation. Fermentation itself takes place over months and at very cold temperatures to preserve the delicate flavors and aromas of the wine.
Making apple ice wine is a labor of love for the Holtzman family, and they enjoy sharing their passion with the world.