The 2020 vintage in the German winegrowing regions
Drought, turbo-charged autumn and supreme quality:
After a warm and sunny spring, the vines showed the first green shoots in April. Then just in time for the ‘ice saints’ in mid-May, it became frosty again, which resulted in severe frost damage and considerable yield losses particularly in Franken, Sachsen and Saale-Unstrut, as well as parts of Württemberg.
The vines flowered early at the end of May - eight to ten days before the average from the last 30 years. Consequently, the main grape harvest started early at the end of August in many winegrowing regions. The sustained period of good weather with midsummer temperatures meant that many grape varieties ripened at the same time, which put extra time pressure on the harvest. The winemakers often harvest early in the morning or in the middle of the night when it is cooler, in order to maintain the freshness typical of German wines. The year 2020 will be remembered by most as a ‘turbo-charged autumn’, which in many cases ended in September.
“The red varieties in particular benefited from the warm weather. The potential for these wines from across all regions, that are already deep red with an intense berry aroma and a velvety texture, will get even better as they further ripen in the cellar” says the German Wine Institute (DWI).
On November 30th, the vintage was crowned with a successful harvest of frozen grapes for ice wine in some regions.
Harvest quantities distributed differently
At around 8.6 million hectoliters, the harvest volume is slightly above that of the previous year and two percent below the ten-year average. However, the quantity is very unevenly distributed across the country (find list). While the Franconian winemakers are recording a historically small harvest, which is 38 percent below the long-term average, the winemakers on the Hessische Bergstrasse were able to increase their yield by 31 percent. In the two largest German winegrowing regions, Rheinhessen and Pfalz, average to slightly above-average harvest volumes were reached with a minus of one percent and an increase of six percent, respectively. Baden and Württemberg each estimate a harvest deficit of ten percent.
You can find out more details of the vintage development in the 13 individual winegrowing regions here and in the download area.