The vines urgently need(ed) water
There is a reason for the pun in the headline. The water supply is the limiting factor in the development of the grapes this year.
There are now places - especially around Mainz, Worms or in the west, where it rained a lot in the past few days and the grapes can now fill up really well. However, especially in July and August, precipitation was almost completely absent, especially in central Rheinhessen. The grapes literally stopped in their maturity development. In young vineyards you can observe that by the withered yellow leaves, but even in old vineyards you can find completely dried up vines despite their deep roots.
This year, too, there are signs of an envious autumn for the winemakers: Regarding the quantity due to the uneven water supply, but also with regard to the must weights due to the delay in ripening in the dry locations. On average, the first ripening measurements by the statisticians in Oppenheim show a slight lead in must weight of one week compared to last year. The acidity will again be moderate this year and will ultimately become the measure of all things in many vineyards when it comes to determining the harvesting date, as fresh, fruity white wines with moderate alcohol levels are particularly popular with wine lovers. The early red varieties are already completely coloured, the later ones are just in the middle of the colouring. In our pictures you can observe the special shades that occur during the colouring.
The first grapes have already been picked for Federweisser, that is fermenting wine sold as a typical harvest drink in Germany, but we do not see this as the beginning of the vintage. Depending on the weather, the main harvest in Rheinhessen will begin in the first or second week of September, depending on the region.