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MADISON -- The 10th annual Grand River Valley Ice Wine Festival will attract close to 3,000 patrons over three weekends and attracts ice wine lovers from Ohio and neighboring states.

The festival itself includes five area wineries, all within a 10-minute drive of each other and theyall produce internationally award winning ice wines.

The five wineries are: Debonne Vineyards, Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant,Laurello Vineyards and St. Joseph Vineyards.

All Ice Wine Festival details/menus/vineyards/directions

The event takes place three successive Saturdays -- March 2, March 9 and March 16. It begins at noon each Saturday and ends at 5 p.m.

Cost is $6 per person at each winery but if you bring a non-perishable food donation for the local food bank, you get $1 off.

WKYC Photojournalist Mike Greene brings you the story.

Ice wine is a sweet dessert wine. Its grapes need to be harvested after 48 hours of a constant 17-degree temperature or less.

And in order to be called an "ice wine," they must be frozen on the vine, not mechanically.

Because of our harsh winters, wineriesare able to achieve that temperature at the right time. And usually the best time is December or early January.

The grapes that arefrozenget as hard as marbles.

Good wine starts in the vineyard and, because the Grand River Valley is one of the best growing regions around, that is a great start to making a very good quality wine.

It's something to be very proud of. Wineries are always looking for our niche, and ice wine is definitely one of our niches here in the area.

But what about the painstaking process of picking the grapes in the cold weather?

When you're out there, and you're frozen cold, and you come in and you see that beautiful juice coming out, and then you ferment it and you're able to taste it. You're like....yeah, that was all worth it.

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