The vegetation period of 2016 was probably one of the most extraordinary in the past few years. Through unusual mild temperatures almond trees where already blossoming at the beginning of the year. A “real” winter with cold temperatures and snow never really happened. Even though nature never really got under its way this year. Many plants had to cast out a second time, because first shoot was affected by frost.
Vines, as plants that usually wake up from their “hibernation” really late, are usually not attacked by late frosts. But this year a huge cold wave even spread out into vineyard side that are usually to warm for it. This happened in our Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Muskateller vineyard sides.
Mai started more or less normal, but at the end of the month we got a primary infection of Peronospora, that we haven’t had in years. It was rather difficult to go against it with only organic spraying. Many rainy days in June made it even more difficult. That’s the reason why we need to live with a lower yield than we usually have. For some varieties it took more than have of it.
But if it come to quality it didn’t affected it at all. Because for quality the only thing that matters is the condition of the grapes. In the end of July weather conditions changed a lot, and from this time on it was dry and warm. That’s why we were able to harvest beautiful healthy grapes in the end.
Harvest period was also really exceptionally this year. Not because condition of the grapes or weather conditions were special, but it took a lot of patience like it usually never takes. At the end we harvested 19 days but rested and waiting 21 days. It was almost harder to find different work for our harvest helpers than it was to decide what to pick next.
The brakes and the patience were necessary, because only a few varieties were perfectly ripe at the beginning of the harvest period. Most of those were the once that were already reduced by frost and Peronospora, like Pinot Noir, Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, and the rest was complete healthy and ripe. So we were done with those really quick.
After a few days break we continued with Pinot Blanc, which was not affected by Peronospora at all. We were able to harvest perfect quality with regular yield.
Second half of harvest period was also a mixture of harvesting and waiting. We did that until early November. It was absolutely important to find the right point of ripeness and healthiness. Through the more or less cooler temperatures in 2016 this was only possible through patience and taking the risk to wait as long as possible. Usually at this time of the year, we have north east wind that helps drying berries, but not this year. So we had to wait a day longer than usually until the grapes were dry. All the time we picked grapes to test and analyze sugar and acidity. November 4th we harvested the last grapes.
If somebody would have told me in July, that in the end we would have a vintage like that, I would have told him he is really optimistic and crazy. Because everything bad that happened until than – and it couldn’t have been much worse – toured out to be good. Through the perfect late summer we almost made up the late in vegetations. The healthiness of the grapes was perfect and in the end – in some cases only with a lot of patience – quality was good!
Vintage 2016 will be a really elegant year, with lighter wines. A lot of minerality and a good but always ripe acidity.
Also the less of quantity toured out to be better than we thought it would be. We were able to harvest 80 % of regular quantity.
Siebeldingen, January 2017