Thanks to the cold snap that reached Germany at the end of January and brought with it lots of sunshine, vineyards in the Saale-Unstrut wine region have now been able to harvest ice wine grapes. Ice wine is notable for its refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity. The German Wine Institute has announced that two wine estates in Germany's northernmost vineyard region for qualitätswein and prädikatswein managed to harvest the riesling grapes on 31 January 2012. At minus twelve degrees Celsius, the grapes reached levels of 221° and 150° on the Oechsle scale, which measures ripeness and sugar content. In the wine regions of Baden, Franconia, Moselle, Palatinate, Rheingau and Württemberg, there was an earlier ice wine harvest in mid-January. Quantities tended to be small, however, after a largely mild winter. But luckily, because this speciality wine keeps for decades, you can ask to sample one of the older vintages!