Promising Prospects for Current Vintage
The picking began almost simultaneously throughout Germany this year, because the weather conditions were quite similar in all German wine growing regions – from Baden in the south up to the Ahr valley in the north. Wine growers of the Ahr region are looking forward to a good vintage with high qualities and quantities below an average yield.
According to the German Wine Institute (DWI), the prospects for a high-quality 2022 vintage are very promising. This is because a large part of the vineyards in the German wine regions is still doing quite well despite the extreme drought. The grapes are in good health and there have been no major storms so far.
The red wine varieties in particular, are benefiting from the sunny weather, which gives hope for full-bodied and colour-intensive red wines. The white wine grapes are already very aromatic with moderate acidity.
It can be assumed that the harvest will proceed quite quickly because the sugar content in the berries will rise rapidly in the sunny weather and many varieties will reach harvest maturity at the same time. The grape harvest will end with Riesling, which is expected to be ready for harvest in mid-September.
Drought is a major challenge
However, the drought also poses great challenges for the winegrowers because the condition of the vines is extremely heterogeneous within the regions. While older vineyards are still quite vigorous due to their deep root system, younger vines suffer significantly from the lack of water, especially on light soils that do not retain much water. Grape ripening is also much slower for them. Young plants are irrigated where possible and in very stressed vineyards, grapes even have to be removed to protect the vines or, at the very least, to keep them alive.
Another effect of the drought is that the berries remain comparatively small. This leads us to expect rather moderate yields despite good grape clusters on the vines overall. Moderate rainfall in the next few weeks could still have a positive effect on the harvest, however, larger amounts of rain are no longer desired during the harvest period.