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Germany ‘smallest harvest’ for 25 years

Germany is poised for its smallest wine harvest in a quarter of a century after cold weather at flowering and localised hailstorms affected production.

Rheinhessen: down 22%

According to the German Wine Institute (DWI), quality will be ‘good’, and the wines will be less full-bodied than recent vintages, exhibiting greater freshness and fruitiness.

The total harvest of just under 6.9m hectolitres is 25% down on the 2009 harvest, with the hail-afflicted Pfalz region down 30% and Germany’s largest wine-producing region, the Rheinhessen, falling 22%.

‘The reason for the unusually small yield is mainly due to the reduced fruit set caused by the low temperatures at the time of the blossoming,’ said Norbert Weber, president of the German Winegrowers’ Association.

Producers had been forced to make a strict selection in the vineyards because of the ‘extremely cool and damp’ August, and the fall in production means that few grapes have been left on the vine for potential eiswein production.

‘This was not an easy year for our winegrowers,’ said Weber. ‘It required nerves of steel and great patience to deal with the situation.’

Written by Richard Woodard

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