German vinters expect 2007 to be "superb year"
30 August 2007, Weisenheim am Berg, Germany (dpa) - Lovers of German wine can expect a superb year, following an early start to the 2007 grape harvest, the country's winegrowing association said Thursday.
30 August 2007
Weisenheim am Berg, Germany (dpa) - Lovers of German wine can expect a superb year, following an early start to the 2007 grape harvest, the country's winegrowing association said Thursday.
"We are entering an excellent year," Norbert Weber, the association's president, said in Weisenheim am Berg in the centre of the Palatinate winegrowing region south of Frankfurt.
Thursday marked the official start of the grape harvest, with growers hoping the current dry spell will last, so that they can make use of the early ripening this year to lock in all the aromas and flavours the grapes have to offer.
Almost all the 13 official winegrowing regions are expecting a good harvest.
The German wine institute (DWI), based in Mainz to the north of Weisenheim am Berg, is predicting a national crop of around 10 million hectolitres, up 13 per cent on last year and 5 per cent on the 10-year average.
The grapes have ripened 10 days to a fortnight earlier than usual this year. Weber said his 85-year-old father could not recall a start to the harvest as early as this year's.
Must levels - the level of juice in the pressed grapes - were higher than last year, he said.
Working in the wine growers' favour this year is a relative shortage of wines caused by a spoiled harvest last year. Heavy rains put paid to what had been predicted to be a good harvest.
The president of the wine growers' association in the Moselle region, Adolf Schmitt, predicted that the first Rieslings would be bottled before the end of the year.
"Riesling supplies are low. The cellars have never been this empty," he said.
But Weber warned that rain could yet spoil the outlook for this year.
While not as well known abroad as their French and Italian counterparts, German wines enjoy considerable popularity in their home market, with a market share of some 50 per cent.
Exports are growing, however. In the period July 2006 to June 2007, German wine exports rose 18 per cent on the year. Around a third of production is exported.
There some 80,000 winegrowers in Germany, growing as many as 140 different varieties. Riesling and Mueller-Thurgau predominate among the whites, while Pinot Noir and Dornfelder are the main reds.
Subject: German news