WineHandpicked by IWSC

Award-winning sweet wines to seek out

From Canadian icewine to late-harvest delights, we share some of the best sweet wine from the IWSC 2023

Words by IWSC judges

vin santo sweet wine with biscotti on table
Handpicked by IWSC

Sweet wines often get their time to shine at Christmas – but as some of the most delicious drinks on the planet, they ought to be savoured year-round.

Hailing from all over the world and in a range of styles, the term ‘sweet wine’ refers to wines left with residual sugar after fermentation – but this can occur naturally or be achieved in a multitude of ways. Take Icewine, for example, produced when grapes are left to freeze on the vine, creating the kind of concentrated flavours in the glass that are lapped up by those in the know.

sweet wine being poured into a glass

You’ll find a total of three icewines in the list below, all IWSC 2023 medal winners. The pick of the bunch was Inniskillin’s Icewine Vidal 2019 from Canada’s Niagara Peninsula, a region famed for the style. Judges commented on its freshness despite the sweetness as well as its exceptional length.

Late-harvest offerings came in the form of Fattoria La Vialla’s Vin Santo 2018, which was noted for its intoxicating mix of ‘raisin and dried fruit, coffee ice cream, ripe pear and toasted nuts’. And of course there was a good showing of wines influenced by so-called noble rot, a process that dries out grapes on the vine, raising the concentration of sugars. Delheim ‘Edelspatz’ Botrytis Riesling 2021 was among them and showed notes of pineapple, marmalade and wild honey when sampled by judges.

This is just a taster of what’s in store, though. Below, we’ve picked out the best sweet wines from the IWSC 2023 for you to indulge in – whatever the occasion.

a snowy vineyard where icewine is made


We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.


Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.


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