According to the official information of the German Wine Institute, the harvesting of grapes for the 2020 vintage of Feather White (still fermenting juice, called Federweier in German) and sparkling wine base wines is already in full swing in Germany. In the next few days, harvesting of grapes for other types of wines will also start in many regions.
Image courtesy of: German Wine
Every year, the ripening of early-ripening Pinot Frhburgunder, Sauvignon Blanc and Muller-Thurgau (i.e.: Revaner) mark the beginning of the main grape harvesting season in Germany. Late ripening varieties such as Riesling Riesling, on the other hand, are generally not suitable for harvesting until mid to late September, which varies from region to region.
At the beginning of the main harvest season, the winemakers were very pleased with the current and forecasted weather conditions, with warm days and cool nights in autumn promoting the development and retention of the aromatic components of the grapes.
The grapes have been ripening rapidly over the past few weeks and the recent slowdown in growth is now slowly ripening, allowing for a more relaxed harvest schedule. At the same time, growers are optimistic about the health of the grapes. With the grapes fully ripe, the 2020 vintage is expected to produce full-fruited white wines and richly colored reds.
Even though the overall condition of the grapes is very good this year, the yield situation will vary greatly from one appellation to another. Due to the highly uneven distribution of rainfall over the last few months, the water supply to the vines varied greatly from one appellation to another and from one plot to another. In the younger vines and in vineyards with strong soil drainage, the berries remained small due to lack of water.
In addition to the effects of rainfall, late frosts in the Franconia, Saale Winstut, and Saxony appellations reduced the expected yield of grapes by almost 30%. Hail also occurred in some areas, only in localized zones, but caused considerable damage to the affected growers. In addition, widespread sunburn was another factor in the reduction of grape yields.
According to cautious preliminary estimates, total grape production across Germany could reach 900 million liters in 2020, which would be on par with the average total production of the last decade. Harvesting has been continuing in recent weeks and more precise yield estimates will soon be possible.