Frozen grapes give birth to ice wine. The vineyard welcomes winter’s cold snap, its deep freeze pushing water from the grapes, concentrating sugars, intensifying flavors.

The weak, winter sun dips below the horizon as the temperature falls to twelve degrees Fahrenheit, ideal for harvesting. I watch as field workers layer-up for warmth, putting on Gore-tex and thermal armor. Winter Warriors strapping on headlamps, crunching between rows of vines, gathering grapes like children picking up precious, purple marbles. Lights bobbing back and forth like crystal balls bouncing in the frigid, night air.

The coyote moon rises as the harvest arrives at the wine press. With time, the grapes will be transformed, becoming more than what they are.


Ron Theel is a freelance writer, mixed media artist, and photographer living in Syracuse, New York. His writing and/or artwork has appeared in “The RavensPerch,” “Beyond Words,” “Open: Journal of Arts & Letters,” and forthcoming in “Pithead Chapel.”