Optimistic Start to Vintage 2020


The harvest for Federweißer (new wine) and base wines for sparkling sekt, is already in full swing, and now, according to the German Wine Institute (DWI), the rest of the harvest will begin in many wine regions over the next days.

Every year, varieties such as Frühburgunder, Sauvignon Blanc or Müller-Thurgau mark the start of the main grape picking season. Late ripening grape varieties such as Riesling will probably not be ready for harvest until mid to late September, depending on the winegrowing region.

The weather is ideal for winemakers

For the start of the main harvest, the vintners are very pleased with the current and forecasted weather of warm autumn days and cool nights, as this promotes the development of aromas in the grapes. The rapid ripening in recent weeks has also slowed down somewhat and is now proceeding at a more moderate pace, which makes the harvest a little more relaxed. The growers are also very positive about the good health of the grapes. Coupled with full ripeness, the 2020 vintage promises fruit-driven white wines and color-intensive red wines.

Yield will be very different from region to region

Even if overall the condition of the grapes is very good this year, the yield situation couldn't be more different. The water supply for the vines has been extremely varied because the rainfall in the last few months was so unevenly distributed, both regionally and locally. In younger vines and vineyards on soils that drain water quickly, the grapes remained very small due to a lack of water.

In Franken, Saale-Unstrut and Sachsen, late frosts also reduced the expected yields by up to 30 percent. In some instances, there were also hailstorms, which, although very localized, nevertheless caused considerable damage to the producers affected. Widespread sunburn damage to the grapes is another factor in reducing the yield.

A cautious preliminary estimate of the national yield is based on a harvest volume of around nine million hectolitres, which is approximately the figure of the ten-year average. A more precise forecast will only be possible in a few weeks, when the harvest is more advanced.

Video: mechanical harvesting in Germany

Video: harvesting by hand in steep slopes

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Start of the main vintage 2020: winemaker Marius Meyer harvests ripe Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

The measurement of the must weight with the refractometer showed over 90 degrees Oechsle for his Sauvignon Blanc.