Perfect Picks: Main Grape Harvest Underway in Germany

The main harvest for Germany’s 2019 vintage started a little earlier than originally expected in many German wine growing areas. Predicted for mid-September, the German Wine Institute (DWI) announced on September 10 that the main harvest had begun, starting with Müller-Thurgau, Frühburgunder, and Pinot Noir for Rosé and Sekt (German sparkling wine).

Perfect weather spurred grape development

During late August and early September, winegrapes in Germany experienced tremendous development and maturation. Thanks to ideal sunny, rain-free weather conditions, winemakers report very healthy grapes, with ripeness currently ahead of the long-term average.

While berries were small up to the first week of September, heavy rainfall over the weekend had a positive effect on dry vineyards and grape juice content. Additionally, sun damage to grapes and a few hail storms have reduced yield predictions, but current estimates suggest the 2019 vintage will reach Germany’s 10-year average of about nine million hectoliters.

Upcoming weather forecasts of warm days and cool nights will benefit the formation of aroma in the grapes, reaffirming predictions for a high quality vintage.

Looking ahead: Late-ripening varietals

Some grapes, like Riesling, which dominate the Mosel, Rheingau, and Mittelrhein regions, generally mature a little slower, so the main harvest of these varieties is expected later on in September. For richer, fruitier styles of Riesling – from Spätlese to Trockenbeerenauslese – winemakers will wait to harvest until even later, typically October or even November. Hear more from a Mosel winemaker!

Learn more about viticulture in Germany.