Sunday, October 22, 2023

German Wine Institute: Vintage 2023 - Short Harvest with Good Qualities

Pictures: Walk in the Vineyard, Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Rudolf May (VDP) in Retzstadt, Franken, with Rudolf and Benedikt May - Germany "From Berlin to Frankfurt" 2023 (Saale Unstrut, Sachsen, Franken, Württemberg) by ombiasy

Press Release 10/17/2023

This year's grape harvest was extremely rapid and characterised by a thorough selection of healthy grapes.

Many wineries accepted lower yields due to the selective pre-harvesting, which ultimately caused the harvest volumes to fall significantly short of the initial forecasts. According to the latest estimates, the German Wine Institute (DWI) expects a nationwide yield of around 8.8 million hectolitres of wine must, which is one percent below the average yield of the last ten years and three percent below last year's harvest of 9.1 million hectolitres.

Large differences in yields

However, the yield situation in the 13 growing regions varies greatly depending on the grape variety structure, location, soil type and cultivation method. Saxony, for example, is happy about an exceptional vintage with a 23 percent increase in volume compared to the long-term average. In Saale-Unstrut, too, wine producers are very grateful for an expected harvest that is 13 percent above the ten-year average yield. With a predicted plus of nine percent, Franconian producers are also positive overall. The same applies to the winegrowers on the Nahe (+8 percent), in the Rheingau (+6 percent) and on the Hessische Bergstrasse (+6 percent).

In Germany's three largest wine-growing regions, Rheinhessen, Pfalz and Baden, average yields are expected to be at about the same level as in the last ten years. Württemberg's winegrowers, on the other hand, are five percent below the ten-year average with their estimated harvest result, while Moselle winegrowers are down four percent.

Top qualities were possible

In terms of quality, the 2023 vintage offered everything. In well-prepared vineyards and cooler sites as well as in the more northerly growing areas, the Riesling grapes were still able to benefit from the intense September and October sun thanks to the very sunny and dry autumn, which also made top qualities possible. Other winners of the vintage are the Silvaner as well as the international red wine varieties and also the new robust grape varieties with their high resistance to fungal diseases. The sunny late autumn also offered the chance to harvest first-class noble sweet specialities.

Pictures: Walk in the Vineyard and Tasting at Weingut Schlossgut Hohenbeilstein (VDP) in Beilstein, Württemberg - Germany "From Berlin to Frankfurt" 2023 (Saale Unstrut, Sachsen, Franken, Württemberg) by ombiasy WineTours

Challenges mastered

The challenges of the vintage, such as the extreme drought in June, the subsequent heavy rainfall until August, or the appearance of the cherry vinegar fly were mastered very well by the winegrowing enterprises, especially thanks to their investments in the rapid processing of large quantities of grapes. Since on the one hand, the many late summer rains made a quick harvest necessary and on the other hand, most grape varieties were ready for harvest almost simultaneously this year.

The grapes were harvested day and night, not least in order to keep them as cool as possible in the exceptionally warm September. In Rheinhessen, Baden and the Palatinate, for example, the grape harvest ended early, mostly at the end of September. Some winegrowers even spoke of the fastest harvest they had ever experienced.

Fruity and lean wines

The first young wines have already fermented without any problems. They present themselves very fruity with rather moderate alcohol levels and a fine fruit acidity.

Pictures: Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Born in Salzatal-Höhnstedt, Saale-Unstrut, with Elisabeth and Günter Born - Germany "From Berlin to Frankfurt" 2023 (Saale Unstrut, Sachsen, Franken, Württemberg) by ombiasy WineTours

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