Small volume, uncompromising quality
TO START…the result was the smallest harvest in the recent history of our estate, but at the same time we have put an extremely promising vintage down to age, one that will in no way take a back seat to 2016 or 2015.
BUT HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT?
It was very dry in the first months of the year – after a truly wintery January, the temperatures climbed to well above average already in February and in March. And April began in similar fashion, so that the vines budded some two weeks earlier than the longtime average. Too early, unfortunately, because the cold returned on 20 April. Nighttime frosts on 20 & 24 April brought things to a critical juncture for the young growth in the vineyards. We mounted a successful defence on more than two hectares with the help of frost candles. It took an enormous amount of effort; the fires among the vines were wondrously beautiful to look at, but concerns about frost damage stood foremost in our thoughts.
Things quickly became warmer in May. Growth moved briskly forward; from the end of the month until in July, temperatures above 30°C were no rarity. Marvellous summer weather gladdened the hearts of our vineyard team – as well as pleasing the vines. Blossoming took place about one week ahead of schedule, and proceeded quite well in the healthy vineyards, since the water supply in the soils was nearly optimal thanks to the thunderstorms and rainfall in June and July.
In August as well, we suffered a bit of anxiety about the possibility of thunderstorms bringing hail with them, but weekly rains provided the vineyards with the necessary moisture, and the summery weather let the clusters ripen quite early. Unfortunately, there came a hitch in the proceedings on 25 August: a thunderstorm flinging hail damaged many vineyards in the Westhofener Berg, in the direction of Gundersheim. But there followed a bit of a blessing: there was a warm and dry autumn ahead of us, one that dried out nearly all the damaged clusters, and gave us the chance – by means of extremely stringent selection in the vineyards – to separate the healthy grapes from those that were damaged. The amount of effort was enormous, and the harvest volumes so small as never before, but the quality of the grape material motivated us to pick with focus and detail, every day in the vineyards. We were overjoyed to see the perfect condition of the clusters in the vineyards AULERDE and KIRCHSPIEL – in those sites, the hail had spared the vines. In BRUNNENHÄUSCHEN and MORSTEIN we were able to win the battle against nature and defy the disaster, harvesting carefully selected, golden-yellow, nicely ripened grapes. We owe special thanks to our diligent co-workers, who because of their rigorous manual labour, great investment of time – and above all passion – were able to bring a difficult harvest to a qualitatively satisfying conclusion.