Harvest 2019 to be completed by VDP wineries

Small, early and exceptionally fast harvest brings top qualities

In 2019 the winegrowers had to hurry because of the good ripeness of the grapes and the rainy weather during the harvest.

"In only 16 days we were able to harvest great grapes. Fully ripe, intense taste with vibrating fruit acidity. We are excited about the wines." VDP President Steffen Christmann is satisfied with this year's harvest.

In addition to the increasingly shorter harvest period, a shift in an earlier start of the harvest has been observed for several years. Due to the warmer climate, the grapes ripen earlier. Especially in the VDP.GROSSEN LAGEN® and VDP.ERSTEN LAGEN® this requires a fast, decisive action with ever larger harvest teams. In the best locations it is important to harvest the grapes healthy at the optimum ripening time and to avoid overripening.

However, the best vineyard alone is no guarantee for a top product. Only the perfect interaction of accurate manual work, well-founded specialist knowledge, intuition, many years of experience, constant curiosity, healthy ambition, almost limitless endurance and a great deal of patience make the best results possible.

After the larger harvest in 2018, a smaller harvest in the following year was to be expected. In addition, some sunburn damage and regional storms contributed to the small harvest. On average, the VDP wineries harvested about 25 % less on longterm average. However, the large volume of the 2018 vintage means that the small quantity can be absorbed and market supply is largely guaranteed.

Vegetation and harvesting process

In the wine year 2019 the vegetation started slower than in the "turbo year" 2018. Already early the water supply of the vines occupied the VDP winegrowers. In contrast to 2018, when a certain water cushion was still present in the groundwater in spring, these reserves were not available in 2019, but there was still some rain in summer. The early flowering at the beginning of June set the course for an early vintage.

The hot summer led in part to considerable sunburn damage. The drought left the grapes small berried. The main vintage began earlier than originally expected, as the vines gained an enormous ripening advantage during the very sunny days at the end of August and beginning of September.


AHR - Mini harvest with very good colour yield

"The loss due to sunburn at the Ahr is about 30%. But we were able to harvest great qualities. Even if not much hung on the stick, we have a very good colour yield with good aroma development, pleasant acidity and high extract values with the Pinot Noir."

Marc Adeneuer, VDP Winery J.J. Adeneuer

BADEN - Vintage year 2019 required a lot of tact and sensitivity

"Unfortunately, the water supplies of 2018, which was too dry, were not replenished in winter. We therefore adjusted our floor maintenance to a water-saving system. The spring was too warm and the budding was very early, too early. A night frost at the beginning of May caused damage of 10% - 30% in some places.  The summer was partly unbearably hot with temperatures up to +40°C and no rain in sight. The drought was even more pronounced than in 2018.

Nevertheless, the vines developed well. A small drop of bitterness was sunburn with partly large quantity losses of the red wine vine varieties, Pinot Noir and Black Riesling. The quality is very good despite the unusual weather challenge. However, the harvest is about 25% lower than the long-term average."

Konrad Schlör, VDP Schlör Winery

FRANKEN - A great vintage? Absolutely!

"Due to the low yields, this year we started harvesting at the beginning of September, at a time when we had almost finished harvesting in 2018. Due to the low yields, the grapes for VDP.GUTSWEIN, VDP.ORTSWEIN and to some extent the VDP.GROSSEN GEWÄCHSE® have ripened very quickly and simultaneously. In most cases, the harvest quantities are unlikely to exceed the 50 hl mark. The grapes are all healthy and the wines in the fermentation are brilliant and perfect. A great vintage? Absolutely! Due to the cooler nights in late summer, the aroma developed very well, the wines are dense and the acid structure good. These are all factors that we need for a great vintage."

Robert Haller, VDP Winery Bürgerspital zum Heiligen Geist

MITTELRHEIN - Healthy grapes. Fresh fruit, beautiful aromatics.

"Fresh fruit, high must weights, optimal acidity values and reduced yields compared to the 2018 vintage characterized the grape harvest on the Middle Rhine. We were able to harvest healthy, golden yellow grapes and the musts present themselves with a beautiful aroma.

Jochen Ratzenberger, VDP Winery Ratzenberger

MOSEL - Small but fine vintage

On the Saar, VDP Weingut Schloss Saarstein reports almost halved yields compared to 2018. Florian Lauer speaks of considerable selection effort during the harvest and a loss in volume of 30 % compared to a normal year. Despite the ripe harvest, the acid values were pleasingly racy, while the aroma of the musts varied from racy-fruity to exotic.

On the Moselle, Oliver Haag of VDP Weingut Fritz Haag speaks of a "small but fine vintage". The harvested musts are exclusively in the predicate range. All predicates could be read. Haag emphasizes the good grape health and the fine tasting acidity of the vintage.

Frost in May and heat in July almost halved the harvest on the Ruwer. At the VDP winery Maximin Grünhaus the harvest began in the last week of September with Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir. For 10 years it has been evident that Pinot Noir in particular has coped well with the sometimes extreme weather conditions. In almost all vintages, high-grade musts with good colour intensity, fine acidity and lots of aromas could be harvested. The small Riesling harvest was brought in with an ideal must weight / acidity ratio: Mature, racy, deep and long-lasting Riesling wines can be expected!

Dr. Carl von Schubert, VDP Winery Maximin Grünhaus (Moselle)

NAHE - Ideal conditions for selection and berry selection

The 2019 vintage brought near excellent qualities with very low yields. Due to a low number of shrubs (= few grapes) and strong irrigation during and after flowering (= few berries per grape) and optimal foliage work, the grape zone was very well ventilated and the grapes remained healthy for a long time. Must weight and acidity were consistently in the ideal range. The harvest traditionally began a little later at the Nahe, at the end of September. Despite the frequent rain showers during this time, the gaps in the rain were used well and the grapes were harvested dry. Occasional botrytis was used to produce Auslesen and Beerenauslesen.

Frank Schönleber, VDP. winery Emrich-Schönleber (Nahe)

PFALZ - Midsummer, April weather, Healthy grapes

While the harvest at Mittelhaardt was very rapid and mostly completed within 2-3 weeks before the rains, the harvest in the later ripening southern Palatinate was delayed. "After exactly six weeks we were able to complete the harvest on 17 October. Not every day grapes were harvested; after the break between champagne base wine and "normal harvest" we also had to wait again and again after rain. While at the beginning late summer conditions prevailed, the cool and humid weather from September 23 onwards reminded us of typical April weather with rain showers. Our grapes with their good state of health and extraordinarily thick skins defied the often adverse weather just as successfully as our experienced harvesters. Nevertheless, good nerves and a great deal of patience were often required until all the grapes were safely brought to our wine press house in the desired quality."

Hansjörg Rebholz, VDP. vineyard economics vine wood

RHEINGAU - Despite heavy rain - top qualities

"The 2019 wine year in the Rheingau was again marked by extreme weather conditions. Drought was followed in part by heavy precipitation. Despite a heat record, there was enough rain this year. Especially due to the heavy rainfall in August, the grapes grew rapidly. Due to low pest infestation and comparatively little "sunburn", however, the quality of the grapes is very good and we were also able to harvest beautiful Auslesen and Beerenauslesen in the noble-sweet area."

Wilhelm Weil, VDP Winery Robert Weil

RHEINHESSEN - Harvest at rush speed

"Thanks to the wonderful late summer, the 2019 grape harvest began much earlier than expected and then proceeded at a rapid pace. Within only 3 weeks the majority of the grapes from Rheinhessen were harvested. The cool nights in August and September helped the grapes to a great aroma with pleasant acid structures. The quality of the vintage gives rise to joy. A small drop of bitterness is certainly the small harvest quantity, but for the VDP winegrowers the quality is always in the foreground anyway!

Philipp Wittmann, VDP Winery Wittmann

SACHSEN /SAALE-UNSTRUT - Extremely healthy grape material, but crop losses due to hailstorms

"We haven't had an easy year. Late frosts in April and May, record heat in June and July in the region around Meissen, massive hailstorm damage, which led to considerable loss of earnings. The meticulous manual work in the vineyard and precise harvesting were rewarded with exceptionally healthy grape material."

Georg Prinz zur Lippe, VDP Proschwitz Castle Winery

WÜRTTEMBERG - Small but good

"The biggest challenge this year was once again the extreme drought. In Württemberg it was too dry, especially during the growth phase of the vine. From the beginning of the harvest, the regular coat was our constant companion. On a long-term average we harvested about 1/3 less, but the quality is very good. The must weights not too high, acidity and extract values very good."

Markus Drautz, VDP Winery Drautz-Abel