Sweet and tart, apple ice wine has 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.
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. Unlike most wines and ciders made from apples, Apfel Eis has absolutely no sugar added during fermentation.
|Wine maker notes
|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, winemaker and co-founder of Still River Winery, produces apple ice wine year round with a 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 home based, 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.
|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.
|Visiting Quebec’s Ice Hotel
The Story of Still River Winery begins on a frigid day in January 2007, when Wade and Margot Holtzman of Harvard, MA set out on a trip north to visit the infamous Ice Hotel, located 20 miles northeast of Quebec City, Canada. While the idea of sleeping in a fancy igloo didn’t excite Margot, it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Both were enchanted by the magic of staying in a snow and ice structure.
Discovering Cidre de Glace
During their weekend trek, Wade spotted a Canadian invention known as cidre de glace, which is ice wine made from apples. One taste and it was love at first sip for the couple. Together they instantly recognized that if such a great wine could be made from Canadian apples, then using premium Massachusetts apples from the farms surrounding their New England home would result in an ice wine ever more delicious.
And so began the Holtzman family’s passion for making the best apple ice wine on the planet.
Apple Ice Wine is a Family Affair
Encouraged by family and friends who raved about their creation, and assisted by their enterprising son Leif, Still River Winery entered their apple ice wine in the Newport Wine Festival in 2008. Sommeliers greeted them with enthusiasm and applause over the quality of the wine, in turn encouraging the Holtzman family to pursue the serious development of their winemaking operation.
Made in Harvard, MA but Shared with the World
Today, Still River Winery’s apple ice wine is sold at fine wine shops, served at respected hotels and restaurants, and shipped nationally. Though larger today than its simple beginnings, Still River Winery’s apple ice wine continues to be hand-crafted and fermented in 5-gallon glass carboys by winemaker Wade Holtzman. The family remains in love with what they do and welcomes visitors for tours and tastings on week-ends and by appointment throughout the year.