Germany’s 2018 Vintage: Adaptation to Climate Change Brings on Early Harvest

After a dry and extremely hot summer, German winemakers’ 2018 harvest produced exceptional quality grapes across Germany’s 13 wine regions.

While yield varied from region to region, vine development was ahead of schedule throughout the country and some regions achieved their earliest recorded harvest. Baden, Germany’s warmest wine region, had flowering come just 30 days after bud break –14 days earlier than usual. According to the Baden Winegrowers ́ Association, this has never happened before. The Franken winegrowers also experienced an early flowering and a fast ripening in a very hot and dry season. According to Reinhard Antes, chairman of the Bergsträsser Winze, 2018 was “perhaps the best vintage of the last 15 years.”

In 2018, most of the harvest had already begun at the end of August throughout the 13 regions, however, some growers delayed picking the later-ripening varieties until October in order to promote grape phenolic maturity. This was made possible by the very hot and dry summer with optimal autumn weather –Winegrowers ́ Association President Thomas Höfer described it as a “super summer.”

After a virtually nonexistent ice wine harvest in 2017, Many Rhineland-Pfalz winegrowers are still hoping for a successful 2018 and have left grapes hanging on 532 hectares of vines for this noble-sweet specialty.

Stay tuned for more updates on the 2018 vintage!