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German winemakers can expect record harvest after extreme summer heat

Staff Writer | November 7, 2018
Vintners in Germany are set to record the biggest wine harvest in 20 years, following an unusually hot and dry summer, official figures published on Tuesday by the country's federal statistical office, Destatis, showed.
German wine
Europe   Vintners could look forward to a harvest of 10.9 million hectoliters
According to Destatis, vintners could look forward to a harvest of 10.9 million hectoliters of wine in 2018. The volume is equivalent to 1.46 billion bottles of 0.75 liter each and would mark the highest harvest output recorded since 1999.

Compared to last year, when German vintners suffered heavy harvest losses due to snap freezes during otherwise warm months, the new estimate published on Tuesday marks a 46-percent increase.

Riesling vines in particular, the most popular grape variety produced in Germany, witnessed a climatic boost to their output. The lion's share of the harvest will be contributed by the traditional centers of German viticulture located in the southwest of the country.

Earlier, the German Wine Institute (DWI) announced that the domestic harvest of grapes for wine production had begun earlier than ever before. The first vineyard began harvesting on Aug. 6, breaking a recent record set in 2014. "This year we are starting extremely early," DWI spokesperson Ernst Buescher said about the development.

This year's hot and long summer has provided some German winemakers with a competitive advantage against producers from countries like Italy where harvests usually begin earlier than in Germany. However, the scarcity of rain experienced between June and July was highly problematic for the German agricultural sector as a whole.