What a summer! Sunshine from April through September. Had it not been for rain during the harvest we could have simply copied our report from 2018.
2019 had a similar start to 2018. A mild and moist winter season was followed by warm and sunny weather in March and April, so that bud started perfectly in good time. Thanks to the lack of a late frost, vines and shoots grew rapidly and flowering began in late May, somewhat earlier than usual. June and July were blessed with sunny, warm weather, including some heat waves with temperatures beyond 40° Celsius (104° F). Newly planted vineyards suffered from drought and required irrigation. Older vines with their deep roots in the slate stone terroir were able to get enough moisture to keep the grapes growing. A rainy period at the end of July and early August came just in time to allow the vegetation to progress. The negative consequence of the heat wave caused a large amount of grapes to suffer from sunburn. Those berries shrivelled and those that did not fall off naturally had to be cut from the bunches during harvest time.
Until mid-September the grapes benefited from sunny, warm days and cool nights, leading to perfect final ripening conditions and the development of ideal healthy aromatic structure. Everything was set for a promising grape harvest. Sugar and acid content had reached levels necessary for a classic Riesling vintage.
We started grape harvest on the 20th September, handpicking grapes for low alcohol Kabinetts and delicate off dry style wines. Most of that first pass through the vineyards was finished when a major weather change turned our plans upside down. Beginning at the end of September through the month of October the weather was rainy and wet. We had to “steal” our grapes during the intermittent dry days in order to get them home. Fruit and vegetable farmers welcomed the rain but it caused headaches to winegrowers during harvest. The warm and humid weather accelerated the ripening of the grapes and Botrytis began to grow. The Oechsle level was high enough to create perfect grapes for late harvest. Botrytis resulted in the positive development of noble rot, enabling us to pick selected portions of Riesling grapes for high end wines. Unfortunately, due to the loss of the shrivelled grapes the quantity of the harvest was diminished by 30% compared to 2018.
To sum up we handpicked an assortment of grapes for Quality- and Predicate wines up to and including what will surely be a spectacular TBA from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr. At the end we are very happy with the 2019 vintage. The incredible amount of sunshine during the vegetation season will positively characterize the style of the new vintage. We are expecting wines with great ripeness and balanced sugar/acid levels, creating wines with ageing potential and longevity.
At this time we are marketing our 2018 bottlings. We received top scores for our wines from German wine almanacs “Vinum”, “GaultMillau”, the English online publication “MoselFineWines” and “The Wine Advocate”. Among all wines the 2018 TBA’s from Wehlener Sonnenuhr and Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr were rated 99 to 100. The German online publication “Wein Plus” by Marcus Hofschuster particularly emphasised the dry “Grosse Gewächse” (grand crus) from those same vineyards. These accolades certify our standing as a top leading producer in the Mosel region.
It is our commitment to continue improving the quality and reputation of our wines.
We wish you happy holidays and a prosperous New Year 2020.
Dr. Dirk und Constantin Richter