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German Vintage 2007 is Superb


As this year’s grape harvest comes to an end, wine-growers in all 13 German wine-growing regions are thoroughly satisfied. Monika Reule, managing director of the Geman Wine Institute/Mainz, is glad that “everything went well this year” and added that “not only are this year’s qualities above average, but also the quantities harvested – currently estimated at 10.5 to 11 million hectoliters – are reason to be pleased, not least because this will enable us to better meet the increased demand for German wines at home and abroad than was possible the past year.”

At this writing, the 2007 grape must harvest is some eight percent greater than the ten-year average, and well above the 9.1 million hl harvested both in 2005 and in 2006 (click here for some more information).

Optimal Harvest Conditions
This year’s harvest was less fraught with stress than those of recent years. Thanks to the good weather and the healthy state of the grapes, growers were able to fine-tune their picking to wait for just the right moment of ripeness for each grape variety. Furthermore, extremely early blossoming enabled development to begin by the end of May, thus providing the grapes with the longest overall period of vegetation ever recorded. As such, typical varietal aromas are quite pronounced – particularly so in late-ripening varieties, such as Riesling and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). The long growing season also fostered high quality and ripe tannins in red varieties, which bodes well for full-bodied, velvety red wines.

At the same time, sufficient water supplies released considerable quantities of mineral nutrients in the soil, and these could be absorbed by the grapes. This usually yields wines that are rich in extract and that reflect the influence of their site-related “terroir.” According to Monika Reule, “We anticipate outstanding wines from vintage 2007 in all quality levels, from uncomplicated, everyday wines to top-quality wines with a fine balance of ripeness and fruity acidity as well as great aging potential. These wines will have a great following at home and abroad.”

The first wines of the new vintage are already on the market. The first Müller-Thurgau/Rivaner wines of the Pfalz, for example, underwent quality control testing on 24 September – unusually early. At this time, demand from the wine trade is good, particularly for Riesling and other white varietals, and there is no shortage of supply.

Monika Reule estimates that prices for this vintage will remain stable for the most part. “Nevertheless,” she says, ”due to relatively hefty increases in auxiliary, production-related costs, slightly upward price adjustments might be necessary.”

“Hanging in There” – Hopes for Eiswein
In years of a good-sized grape crop, growers are more inclined to risk leaving a few rows of vines unpicked, hoping to be able to harvest Eiswein. Time will tell whether there will be vintage 2007 frost, no ice wine. Last year, this rare specialty was very rare indeed.