Winemakers throughout Germany are celebrating a successful eiswein harvest.
The bitter December cold in Germany’s winegrowing regions enabled grapes left on the vine to freeze to be harvested as eiswein.
Most were taken in the early morning hours of 18 and 19 December for the important Mosel and Rhein regions while some of the more southerly regions were forced to wait until as late as 22 December.
To produce this sweet specialty in Germany, temperatures must drop to at least -7°C (19°F) for a minimum of three hours.
In the southerly regions, Baden’s cooperative wineries in Durbach and Jechtingen harvested 1,500 liters each of Riesling and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) eiswein on 19 December while Württemberg’s Rainer Schnaitmann brought in significantly less, and solely from Riesling, on 22 December.
The renowned Allendorf and Dönnhoff estates in Rheingau and Nahe respectively were also successful in harvesting Riesling eiswein. The first Franconian estate to harvest eiswein was Weingut Schwab, where the white variety Kerner was picked with a relatively high 182° Oechsle.
Waiting for eiswein is a gamble, risking a total loss particularly in mild winters such as 2006.
According to Monika Reule, managing director of the German Wine Institute, ‘thanks to the good size of this year’s crop, growers were more willing than usual to risk leaving a few vines unpicked in the hope of making eiswein.’
Written by David Furer