Vintage 2018 in Rheinhessen: early, good, with potential
What a wonderful wine year this year 2018 was: a lot of summer, endlessly dry, a stress test for the vines and a happy ending with a rich harvest and good qualities. And as if that was not exciting enough, there was a curious addition to the Happy End Icewine Harvest in January and even Trockenbeerenauslese in March 2019. The yield was big. For Rheinhessen, the final figures show 2.70 million hectoliters of wine yield - an increase of 16% over the long-term average. Statisticians reported average yields of 112 hl / ha - pushed by Müller-Thurgau for the white and Portuguese for the red varieties, while classics such as the Silvaner or Spätburgunder had moderate yield and yet, remained clearly in double digits. The majority of the vintage makes 60% of quality wine category, 31% of premium wine and 9% of the wine / land wine category.
Quality wine assessment: Small vintage 2017 leaves a dent
With 2.02 million hl of wine, the tested quantity is 6% below the level of the previous year. With a share of 73% of the submitted wines, the large producers underlined their great market importance for Rheinhessen. Wineries have a share of 21%, the cooperatives / producer groups are unchanged at 6%. In the game of colors, white wines accounted for 69%, reds for 21% and rosé wines for 10%. Dry and semi-dry wines now account for 2/3 of the total bottling volume. The Liebfraumilch rate has declined further and now stands at 5%. The most important varietal wines come from Dornfelder (18%), Riesling (17%) and the Pinot family (16%).
Stability in the consumer market
According to GfK (Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung - Association for consumer research), Rheinhessen was hit by a market share of 31.5% in the food assortment in Germany in 2018 (previous year 33%), but maintained its leading position among German wine growing areas. Average prices have risen by 9% to € 2.97 / l, and customer reach remained almost stable at 23.3%. In the case of direct sales to final consumers, Rheinhessen was able to more than compensate for the slight decline in customer reach by increasing its intensity (from 65 to 75 liters) and at the same time keeping the average price, which now stands at € 6.77 / l, almost the same.
Strong growth in wine export
Backed by the small grape harvest in 2017, the exporters had to use all capacities for the wines from Rheinhessen in order to be able to reasonably maintain the positions they had acquired in previous years in the markets. At the end of the 2018 export year, the bottom line was a minus of 7.0% in volume. At the same time, it was possible to increase the average price to € 273 / hl, so that at € 74m, the white wine sales level of the previous year could be maintained (-0.1%).
Market No. 1 remains the US, followed by the Netherlands. Behind them are the United Kingdom, Poland and China. Among the top 10 markets, Latvia (+ 44%), Poland (+ 24%) and Israel (+ 20%) are the most notable. The highest average prices in the top 10 were exports to Norway (517 € / hl), before China (421 € / hl) and Japan (380 € / hl).