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Wine Diary

White harvest!

October 30, 2012

Monday before All Saints’ Day offered a nice surprise: the first snow! So…up to Steinmassel, shake off the snow, and pick the fine Riesling grapes. Of utmost importance now: Thermos jugs and refills of hot tea, before your hands and feet freeze in the cold!

As a general rule our best reserve wines come from grapes harvested near the freezing point in November and usually only after All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day. This “suffering” of the vines enriches the range of aromas in the grapes. The great diversity of berries at different levels of ripeness from fully ripe to already overripe is one fundamental reason why late harvested wines taste significantly more splendid than those picked in September.

The sugar in the grapes did not increase the last few days, on the contrary, perhaps the vines even took back some sugar from the grapes before they go dormant. However, taste gets richer and more complex, while losing some of the “candid lightness” that we enjoy in “September Wines”.

Harvest will progress quite swiftly now during the next few days. The wind blew away the remaining autumn leaves and once again dried the grapes. Precipitation will only be welcome now in the form of snow not rain. and temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius would be ideal! We also hope to harvest an ice wine this year, however our vineyards mostly high up on the hills are less suitable for frost than those in the plains might be, where cool air flow can create colder spots.