VDP.Vintage 2023
A review

An emotional, memorable vintage and thus intense weeks lie behind the winegrowers of the VDP. What makes the 2023 vintage so special? How do the first musts present themselves? We have asked our members and collected the first voices from the regions.

The year 2023 will be remembered as a year of extremes. From the drought already in spring to the persistent rain with simultaneously warm temperatures later in the year, this wine year was anything but ordinary.

In spring, during the long dry period, we were still longing for rainfall so that the yield development could progress positively. When the rains came in the summer, the winegrowers were able to rejoice at the respiration of nature, the lush green in the vineyards and the good water supply for the vines. But soon many wished that the rain clouds would disappear and make room for the sun again. Also to keep disease pressure in check with rising temperatures and constant humidity. All this requires a lot of attention, care and experience.

VDP.Harvest 2022 – "The Sound of Herbst"

The grape harvest began earlier than expected in 2023 and the harvest period was unusually short. However, the stable and warm weather in September allowed the site to stabilize and promised hope for very good qualities.

Many members of the VDP experienced the fastest harvest they had ever had, as both estate wines and site wines ripened simultaneously. Thus, the 2023 harvest was undoubtedly a tour de force that demanded the skill of the VDP.winegrowers. The grapes had to be intensively selected and rotten berries were rigorously sorted out to ensure that only the healthy and ripe grapes made it to the presses.

2023 – a year that required above all diligence and care for truly top wines, but also one that will go down in history as a year of determination and adaptability.


Outstanding qualities

"In terms of harvest timing, a "normal" year was still expected in the summer. However, due to the 10-day heat period in early/mid-August, grape ripening was fast. At the end of August/beginning of September, the first Frühburgunder grapes were harvested, followed by base wines for sparkling wines. After that, there was a seamless transition to Pinot Noir. The hand harvest, which was necessary anyway due to the steep slopes, proved to be a great advantage again this year. The qualities and quantities were excellent. We harvested another very good vintage in the Ahr valley."

Hans-Jörg Lüchau, VDP.Weingut Deutzerhof


Mineral elegance

"In Baden, we look back on a mixed growing season, with frequent precipitation - especially in the spring - but also with warm and dry phases later on. Due to the rapid growth, intensive work was already necessary during the first stage of development and also subsequently. The harvest again began relatively early at the VDP wineries in Baden, at the end of August to the beginning of September. In order to achieve the desired very good quality level, the grapes had to be carefully and uncompromisingly sorted. As a result, the harvest fell well short of the large quantities generally forecast, but was still quite good in terms of the long-term average within the VDP. The first young wines show themselves mineral-elegant and prepare great anticipation for what is currently still in fermentation."

Joachim Heger, VDP.Weingut Dr. Heger



Joy of a vintage with top wines

"The vines mostly survived the extreme heat phase in July well. Only younger plants were thirsty and desperately needed the precipitation as well as the cooler temperatures. This was followed by light precipitation and sufficient water over two weeks, which helped us in many places. Nevertheless, precipitation was distributed very differently, both locally and temporally, so that it depended heavily on reducing the number of bunches on the vine in order to distribute the water power appropriately. Thus, the quantity-quality ratio was more important than ever, so that top qualities could be produced at dry sites. In many places, this resulted in the fastest harvest ever, as estate wines and site wines ripened virtually simultaneously. The summer weather during the harvest made it easy for us to harvest only healthy and ripe grapes. The fermentation process in the cellar showed no problems. Happily, we can say that the anticipation is high for a fitting, market-driven vintage with top wines across the complete range of grape varieties!"

Robert Haller, VDP.Weingut Bürgerspital zum Hl. Geist


A qualitatively very good harvest

"The harvest began in early September with the Pinot Varieties. The Riesling harvest then started on September 10th with already at this time surprisingly early, high must weights as well as beautiful yellow colored grapes with good physiological ripeness. Unfortunately, as time went on, the health of the grapes gradually declined in the later weeks, so that a selective manual harvest was necessary from the beginning of October in order to get healthy grapes into the cellar. Fortunately, the labor-intensive selection of the grape material was rewarded with remaining exceptional quality. All in all, we can look back on a very good autumn in terms of quality, which in some cases even gave us wonderfully concentrated Auslesen and Beerenauslesen."

Jochen Ratzenberger, VDP.Weingut Ratzenberger


Intensive, knowledgeable hand harvest is
a requirement for a perfect vintage

"We are thrilled with the new vintage, which we definitely rank among the best we have ever harvested! Until the main harvest, grapes were split in most of our vineyards and pre-harvested up to twice. At the VDP.Weingut Van Volxem, the grapes were brought from the vineyard in refrigerated trucks to the press house, where they were processed on the shaking belt after another selection. In the Saar, one is thrilled by perfect aromatics, good minerality and high extract values. Winners in 2023 are the side valleys and the south-west slopes."

Saar | Roman Niewodniczanski | VDP.Weingut Van Volxem

"The musts taste optimally matured with very good acid structure. It should be emphasized that the grapes from old vines and from the single stake plants in 2023 are the best and healthiest. The intensive and knowledgeable hand harvest is - as always - the basic prerequisite for perfect vintage, as we wish! Especially for VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® very healthy grapes could be harvested."

Mosel | Clemens Busch | VDP.Weingut Clemens Busch

"At Karthäuserhof the last grapes were harvested in mid-October. Healthy, golden yellow grapes with very good acidity provide a very good basis for first-class, dry Riesling wines up to VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS®! Expect highly aromatic, ripe, deep Ruwer Riesling wines with spicy minerality and great development potential."

Ruwer | Dominik Völk | VDP.Weingut Karthäuserhof


The taste of the musts is excellent

"It was, contrary to expectations, a very early and fast harvest. The sunny August and September weather, combined with the rainfall of the preceding weeks, brought the best conditions for a rapid development of ripeness. The Riesling harvest usually began on the Nahe between September 18th and 25th in perfect health. It quickly became clear that ripening was progressing so quickly that there was no time to lose, especially since, as time went on, harvesting had to be increasingly selective in order to obtain healthy grapes from the beginning to the end of the harvest. Within three weeks, the Riesling grapes were mostly already harvested. Must weights and acidity levels were in the ideal range, and taste-wise the musts were excellent."

Frank Schönleber, VDP.Weingut Emrich-Schönleber


Multifaceted and intense handwork

"The grapes have been harvested and the musts are fermenting in the cellars: Our members in the Palatinate can look back on varied weather and a challenging grape harvest this year. 

Well supplied with sufficient water over the winter months, the vines have started the year. Budding, the start of vine growth, was as usual in mid-April; fortunately, there was no late frost damage in the Palatinate this year. The good water supply from spring and the warm days of early summer accelerated the vegetation. The flowering of the vines was rapid and good. This year there was no drought stress, as in many previous years, but the many rainy days in July and August were quite disturbing. We were then saved by the dry late summer hot days throughout September, which gave the grapes the necessary ripeness.

This year's harvest was a feat of strength and demanded the skills of the VDP winemakers. A lot of manual work including intensive selection of the grapes went into the 2023 vintage. The rotten berries were sorted out, the healthy and ripe ones went into the press. For this effort, you need a large, experienced harvest team. At the same time, there was also great time pressure, because many grape varieties were ripe at the same time this year, which normally can be harvested well one after the other. But the wines that emerge will reward us again for this diligence."

Hans-Jörg Rebholz, VDP.Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz


Rheingau & Hessische Bergstraße

Very good qualities in all levels of the VDP.classification pyramid

"The harvest is still going on in the Rheingau. We expect very good qualities in all levels of the VDP.classification pyramid. The good weather in the last decade of September has played into the cards of the Riesling!"

Wilhelm Weil, VDP.Weingut Robert Weil


The endless grape harvest

"A few days ago we harvested the last grapes from our Rothenberg and already the stress and tension of the last few weeks has noticeably eased. The title "The never-ending grape harvest", reflects the demands of the many long days during the intense six weeks. But it also reflects the fascination and growing anticipation we felt with every grape that came into the winery and every must that began to ferment in our barrels. We are very pleased with the quantity and, above all, the quality that we are now tasting in the cellar. Starting with sparkling wines and Kabinett to very concentrated and energetic musts for the GG's. A highlight this year was a TBA (Trockenbeerenauslese) from the Rothenberg with over 240 degrees Oechsle. The 2023 vintage required careful sorting in the vineyards and extreme sensitivity as well as concentration in the wine cellar. The great teams of our winegrowers in the cellar and vineyard made it possible to bring out the best this year. We are very grateful for every drop we harvested. Especially in a year that was not easy from start to finish."

Johannes Hasselbach, VDP.Weingut Gunderloch


Dream autumn weather 2023

"This year showed again: those who have worked quality-oriented - that is, already in the spring, thinned out, divided grapes and reduced - were rewarded with extremely good qualities. In addition to excellent quality, a good to very good quantity was harvested for the smaller growing regions of Saxony and Saale-Unstrut! A diverse year - with a crowning conclusion in the form of dream autumn weather for us all."

Björn Probst, VDP.Weingut Schloss Proschwitz


Excellent qualities – especially for the late grape varieties

"It was not an easy wine year: In the spring, a long dry period partially impaired yield development. Later in the year, persistent rain combined with warm temperatures led to increasing disease pressure, which had to be controlled by meticulous manual labor. As a result, the grape harvest again started very early in 2023 and the harvest period was unusually short. Fortunately, the stable and warm weather in September stabilized the situation, which made us forget our initial worries. Although the harvest volume is somewhat lower, the qualities are excellent, especially for the late grape varieties."

Felix Ellwanger, VDP.Weingut Ellwanger


Photos: Peter Bender