Optimistic start to the vintage in Germany


The first winemakers in many German wine regions are starting their grape harvest for the production of sparkling and still wines.

After the cool and partly rainy summer, Germany's sunny September was extremely good for ripening grapes. Depending on the region, the must weights increased in the last two weeks by up to 17 degrees Oechsle for the Pinot varieties (Burgunder) and up to 21 degrees Oechsle for Riesling. In the official ripening measurements, on average almost all varieties are at the level for quality wine.

Fresh, fruity wines in sunny September

Wine producers are cautiously optimistic about the decisive weeks ahead. If the weather remains predominantly dry then turns into a golden October, nothing will stand in the way of an excellent vintage with fresh, fruity wines. Dry weather would be particularly important for the later ripening Riesling grapes, which will not be ready to be harvested until the end of September.

At the moment, the stimulating fruit acid content in the berries offers ultimate conditions for first-class sparkling wine.

Yield situation varies from region to region

Even if the flowering of the vines, which went smoothly this year, resulted in a good fruit set overall, the yield from the vineyards can vary greatly amongst regions due to the extremely disparate health of the grapes. Therefore, selective harvesting will be necessary in many cases.

In parts of Baden and Württemberg, late frosts also reduced the expected yields, and in Saale-Unstrut, severe winter frosts in February damaged a considerable number of vines.

Very good quality in the Ahr

Around 10% of the area under vines fell victim to the floods in the Ahr region. The spared vineyards are in good shape thanks to the help of colleagues from other winegrowing areas. The first Frühburgunder (early-ripening Pinot) grapes are currently being harvested and the Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), which dominates the region, will be harvested in around two weeks. From a qualitative point of view, despite all the difficulties of the recent catastrophe, the Ahr wine producers expect a very good vintage that can be completely processed within the region.

Quantities slightly below ten-year average

Nationwide, the first cautious yield estimates forecast a harvest volume that is slightly below the ten-year average of approximately nine million hectoliters. A more precise forecast will only be possible in a few weeks, when the harvest is more advanced.

Archive: "New wine" harvest commenced in August

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Video archive: harvesting in Germany

Mechanical harvesting


Pinot Noir grapes in Essenheim, Rheinhessen. The main grape harvest for 2021 started in many German wine regions in mid September.

Winemaker Christian Braunewell brings the Pinot Noir grapes to the winery.