Q. What does “late harvest” mean on a wine label?
A. Late harvest just means the grapes are left on the vine longer than usual. This tends to concentrate the sugars as the grapes dry out and become raisins. Late harvest wines almost always are sweeter wines, but well-made late harvest wines have enough acidity to make a well-balanced wine that doesn’t overpower you with sweetness.
Late harvest wines often are riesling, moscato, zinfandel, semillion or sauvignon blanc grapes. Ice wines, in which the grapes freeze on the vine, are popular in Germany and Canada. The ice crystals are elminated when the grapes are crushed, leaving highly concentrated juice from the grapes.