Germany: The main 2008 grape harvest has finished with an estimated overall yield of 10 to 10.5 million hl. It was 10.3 million hl in 2007.
The crop yielded good to very good QbA and Prädikat wines in all regions, with a slightly higher proportion of QbA than last year and some regions harvesting top quality grapes with must weights of over 200° Oechsle.
After favourable weather conditions in summer, temperamental weather during autumn proved quite challenging for wine-growers. Relatively cool temperatures and intermittent periods of rain in September curbed the ripening process, although Silvaner and late-ripening varieties, such as Riesling and Spätburgunder, profited from the sunny weather in late autumn, assisting the development of typical varietal aromas.
Dr. Franz Werner Michel of Domdechant Werner’sches Weingut in the Rheingau said: “Careful selective pre-picking in September and skilful harvesting towards the end of October led to the must-weight for some Riesling Erstes Gewachs and Auslese reaching over 100°, as well as a real rarity: a Bereneauslese of more than 130°.”
Moselland’s Chief Winemaker Mathias Krämer said: “Overall quality was slightly above average, including some promising Spätlese wines. The 2008 vintage is very similar to the 2004 vintage, which delivered very lively, fruit driven and durable wines.”
Heinrich Breuer of Weingut Georg Breuer agreed with this comparison. He added: “Acidity levels at the start of harvest were quite high, but low night-time temperatures during vintage meant that acidity gradually fell by the end of harvest to a level very similar to the 2004 vintage.”
According to Monika Reule, Managing Director of the German Wine Institute in Mainz: “This year, German wine enthusiasts can look forward to lively, light white wines with a fresh, fruity acidity – the wine profile that is currently in vogue. The reds are also promising and rich in colour.”