Vintage begins as early as never before

Vintage begins as early as never before
While many farmers are struggling with severe crop failures due to the ongoing drought, grapevines thrive. German winemakers now hope for the competitive advantage.

The grape harvest in Germany starts already in the coming week – as early as never before. The beginning will be on August 6, a winery in Lörzweiler (Rhineland-Palatinate), as the German Wine Institute announced. There had never been an earlier harvest date.

In many regions of Germany, it is currently as dry and hot as ever since the beginning of the weather record. While winemakers benefit, other farmers are struggling with devastating crop failures. Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner (CDU) is currently testing federal aid for the farmers affected by the drought. The German Farmers Association demands to provide one billion euros for the compensation payments.

The previous record at the Weinernte held the years 2007, 2011 and 2014 with a beginning on 8 August. Last year, the harvest started on 16 August, then in a vineyard in the Palatinate.

“This year we are extremely early,” said Ernst Büscher of the German Wine Institute. “The level of development of the vines is a good three weeks ahead of the 30-year average.” The ever-earlier start is an indication of climate change. Long-term measurements in the Rheingau showed that since 1988, the average temperatures are constantly rising. Here you can read more about it.

The first grapes this time go into the Federweißer production. In particular, the grape varieties Solaris, Ortega, Bacchus, and Huxel are used. Later also Müller-Thurgau is processed.

The early start of reading favored the German Federweißer in competition with imports from Italy says Albrecht Ehses of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Trier. “Compared to the Federweißer from Puglia, we are otherwise four weeks behind, this year we can catch up faster.” According to Ehses, an estimated 11 million liters of Federweisser are distributed through the trade nationwide via the retail trade. The share of German production is on average at 50 percent. “This year we could reach 60 percent.”

Federweißer is produced in all 13 wine-growing regions in Germany and is usually sold directly to winegrowers or in regional trade. Federweißer from the Palatinate and Rheinhessen, the two largest German growing regions, are among the nationwide traders.

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