Vintage Reports

Every year we relive a new autumn, which characterizes each vintage. But the whole year, the whole vegetation period is decisive for a good wine. Every year Hansjörg Rebholz writes a corresponding vintage report in which he summarizes the most important and thus most formative characteristics of a specific vintage and shows how these always have an individual effect on our wines of this vintage.

In our picture gallery we collect impressions from every autumn, as well as beautiful moments from life and work in the vineyard.

The vines took their time during spring time. After the winter rest they showed their first green leafs and mid of June we saw the first blossom. Very warm and dry weather conditions during summer time brought us early ripeness and hence we had to start the harvest a little quicker as expected. Several days with record temperatures over 40°C in July caused “sunburn” at a wide range of grapes – more than we have seen so far. Depending on grape varieties and vineyards this caused a decrease of earnings around 10 to 20% and huge additional expenses while picking.

16th October, after exactly 6 weeks, we could finish our vintage 2019. Not every day was a picking day; after two breaks between bases for sparkling wine and the “normal” harvest, also the rain forced us to take a break again and again. While at the beginning there were given midsummer conditions, the weather changed around 23rd September with cold, windy and humid weather coming with very imprecise weather forecasts. Our brave grapes resisted the bad weather with their good health and the exceptional thick skin the same way as our brave harvest helpers. Nevertheless, it was possible with a lot of patience and strong nerves.

The best wines originate almost always from good teamwork. The best vineyard by itself is not yet a guaranty for an excellent product. Only the perfect match of precise handcraft, profound knowledge, spontaneous intuition, long-term experience, constant curiosity, healthy ambition, barely unlimited endurance and a lot of patience makes the best result possible. Such an amazing experience was given during this years’ harvest. In particular 2019 was a pleasure for us as our twins Hans and Valentin took over the responsibility together for our young team of employees, apprentices and harvest interns. Owing to their apprenticeship, internships and education during the last couple of years at least one of them spent nearly every harvest somewhere else in Germany and abroad – which lead to huge motivation, experience and childlike curiosity. Every issue is getting questioned and challenged, not to do something just new or different but to make things still better or even more perfect.

Rebholz Wines of this vintage will be ranged well between the two previous vintages 2018 and 2019: Two vintages which are showing their character opened right from the start, owing to the perfect ripeness of their grapes. Beyond that they own much structure and aging potential, resulting from our biodynamic working, the traditional grape processing with skin contact, the carful work in the cellar and especially the huge factor of time.
 


 

Vintage 2019:
The start of the harvest:                     04.09.2019
The end of the harvest:                       16.10.2019
Total size of vineyards (in yield):        25,18 ha
Picking days:                                          30 Tage        (Ø 2003-19: 23,5)
Picking hours total:                              6164 Stunden    (Ø 2003-19: 5280)
Picking hours per ha:                           245 h/ha    (Ø 2003-19: 218)
Total yield:                                             120.000 l
Yield per ha:                                           47,5 hl/ha    (Ø 2003-19: 52,8)

 

 

 

The vintage 2018 in Germany will be a memorable vintage for a long time. Surely not because of the Diesel scandal, the flubbed soccer WM or the successful winter Olympic Games for the Germans. But rather because of the weather conditions which brought us an “endless summer”. Even in October you can still feel the summer.

The year began very humid, than from February on we had a very cool winter. In April it turned into a period of fine weather so that the usual spring-time quickly switched to summer. Due to the fact that this warm and dry weather continued nearly unvaried until October, you feel like staying on an endless summer holiday in the South. Still it is to ask which impact will this “perfect” summer, like in a picture book, have on our nature, our vines and our wine?

A logical consequence after this warm and dry summer was the earliest harvest start since over 70 years – in August. During the whole harvest we had the best weather conditions we could wish for. Moreover the perfect healthy conditions of the grapes made this harvest even more special. It moved over 6 calendar weeks with 28 picking days in total. This is also very typical for warm and dry years because our varieties grow very different under these (extreme) conditions. The burgundy grapes, sauvignon blanc, gewürztraminer, silvaner and this year also muskateller were ripe much earlier than our Riesling.

After two vintages of very small quantity we are happy and satisfied about the very good earnings this year, which are luckily given in all good qualities up to the noble sweet wines – which we and you wish for.

The wines from 2018 will be the perfect supplement to both previous years 2017 and 2016. All of them show their very own, diverse character. It seems that our wines from 2018 with their ripe, clear fruit and pleasant acidity will be balanced, harmonic and opened up quite early. They may remember us of our older vintages from 2007 and 2012.

 


 

Facts Vintage 2018:

The start of harvest:                                   28.08.2018
The end of the harvest:                              08.10.2018
Total size vineyard (in yield):                     23,27 ha
Picking days:                                                 28 days                (Ø 2003-17: 23)
Picking hours total:                                      5446 hours         (Ø 2003-17: 4100)
Picking hours per ha:                                   234 h/ha             (Ø 2003-17: 218)
Total yield:                                                     170.000 l
Yield per ha:                                                  73 hl/ha           (Ø 2003-17: 53)

 

In spring-time the vine vegetation began very early and then there came frost again, which caused big harvest deficits in most German wine regions – as well for us. Through the whole year we had very warm and quite dry weather so we could stick with our growth edge. As a result we could finish our harvest exactly four weeks earlier than the year before.

During this harvest we needed a lot of patience. Indeed the health state of our grapes was excellent but after frost in spring there were very various states of ripeness within the different vineyards and varieties. After the harvest in some vineyards started early and with much loss of crop, some other vineyards needed much more time and we harvested significantly later. Essentially, this is what characterizes our vintage 2017: clear, ripe, very typical aromas of the grape varieties with a very delicate, mineral and constantly ripe acidity. Thereby – and as well because they aged longer in the cask due to the early harvest – the young wines are already slightly open, however the delicate structure of acidity gives much potential for a long aging. This vintage reminds us a little of the vintage 2015, in which we can also find this great balance between "cool and warm" characteristics.

 

Facts Climate 2017:

Temperature:                                                11°C                      (Ø 2008-14: 11°C)
Rain:                                                               677,6 mm            (Ø 2008-14: 683,1 mm)
Sunshine-Hours:                                           2267 h                  (Ø 2008-14: 2133 h)
“Vegetation Days” (T Ø >= 5 °C):               275                        (Ø 2008-14: 276)

 

Facts Vintage 2017:

The start of harvest:                                    4.9.2017
The end of the harvest:                              4.10.2017
Total size vineyard (in yield):                     22,96 ha
Picking days:                                                 22 days                (Ø 2003-17: 22)
Picking hours total:                                      4023 hours         (Ø 2003-17: 5090)
Picking hours per ha:                                   175 h/ha             (Ø 2003-17: 222)
Total yield:                                                     84.710 l
Yield per ha:                                                  36,9 hl/ha           (Ø 2003-17: 52,3)

The vegetation period of 2016 was probably one of the most extraordinary in the past few years. Through unusual mild temperatures almond trees where already blossoming at the beginning of the year. A “real” winter with cold temperatures and snow never really happened. Even though nature never really got under its way this year. Many plants had to cast out a second time, because first shoot was affected by frost.

Vines, as plants that usually wake up from their “hibernation” really late, are usually not attacked by late frosts. But this year a huge cold wave even spread out into vineyard side that are usually to warm for it. This happened in our Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Muskateller vineyard sides.

Mai started more or less normal, but at the end of the month we got a primary infection of Peronospora, that we haven’t had in years. It was rather difficult to go against it with only organic spraying. Many rainy days in June made it even more difficult. That’s the reason why we need to live with a lower yield than we usually have. For some varieties it took more than have of it.

But if it come to quality it didn’t affected it at all. Because for quality the only thing that matters is the condition of the grapes. In the end of July weather conditions changed a lot, and from this time on it was dry and warm. That’s why we were able to harvest beautiful healthy grapes in the end.

Harvest  period was also really exceptionally this year. Not because condition of the grapes or weather conditions were special, but it took a lot of patience like it usually never takes. At the end we harvested 19 days but rested and waiting 21 days. It was almost harder to find different work for our harvest helpers than it was to decide what to pick next.

The brakes and the patience were necessary, because only a few varieties were perfectly ripe at the beginning of the harvest period. Most of those were the once that were already reduced by frost and Peronospora, like Pinot Noir, Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, and the rest was complete healthy and ripe. So we were done with those really quick.

After a few days break we continued with Pinot Blanc, which was not affected by Peronospora at all. We were able to harvest perfect quality with regular yield.

Second half of harvest period was also a mixture of harvesting and waiting. We did that until early November. It was absolutely important to find the right point of ripeness and healthiness. Through the more or less cooler temperatures in 2016 this was only possible through patience and taking the risk to wait as long as possible. Usually at this time of the year, we have north east wind that helps drying berries, but not this year. So we had to wait a day longer than usually until the grapes were dry. All the time we picked grapes to test and analyze sugar and acidity. November 4th we harvested the last grapes.

If somebody would have told me in July, that in the end we would have a vintage like that, I would have told him he is really optimistic and crazy. Because everything bad that happened until than – and it couldn’t have been much worse – turned out to be good. Through the perfect late summer we almost made up the late in vegetations. The healthiness of the grapes was perfect and in the end – in some cases only with a lot of patience – quality was good!

Vintage 2016 will be a really elegant year, with lighter wines. A lot of minerality and a good but always ripe acidity.

Also the less of quantity toured out to be better than we thought it would be. We were able to harvest 80 % of regular quantity.

Siebeldingen, January 2017

2012 started with an extremely cold, dry and long winter. The shoot of the vines was very heterogeneous. After a normal April and a warm May the first half of summer (June and July) was cool and wet. The result was an uneven flowering during 3 weeks in June. The infection pressure for the plants and grapes was generally very high at the first part of summer.

In the second part of the summer the temperature was normal, but it was extraordinary dry. In Kastanienbusch we started to irrigate!

The consequences of this warm, dry period were very healthy and early ripe grapes with little juice at the beginning of the harvest. During the harvest time the grapes got juicer and began to taste much better.

Since 1990 we observe a yearly change between „warm“ and „cool“ vintages. The even vintages were mostly cooler, with an elegant, filigree, delicate and fine character because of the higher acidity. The odd vintages had in contrast a riper, rounder, fruitier and more full bodied character.
Because of the warm wine character, the vintage 2012 is untypical for an even vintage. The wines of the vintage 2012 are more comparable with odd vintages like 2005, 2007 and 2009.

 


 

Facts Vintage 2012:
The start of harvest:          20.9.2012
The end of the harvest:     26.10.2012
Total vineyard size:             20,67 ha
Picking days:                        25
Picking hours total:            4750 hours
Picking hours per ha:         230 h/ha
Total yield:                           115 000 l
Yield per ha:                        55 hl/ha


Facts Climate 2012:
Temperature:                                      10,9°C           (Ø 10,8°C)
Rain:                                                     756,6 mm     (Ø 705,4 mm)
Sunshine-Hours:                                 2245              (Ø 2147)
“Vegetation Days” (T Ø >= 5 °C):      292                (Ø 276)

 

The vegetation of 2011:
The year 2011 was a year with many faces.
A roughly overview- In the winter we had a lot of snow, but a low winter moisture.
The spring was mild and very dry this was the reason of the early shoot of the whole nature.
Early flowering and early ripeness of the grapes.
The time before the harvest the moisture was really high. So we had the problematic with the decay at the beginning. But the weather changed and during the harvest the weather was perfect “winegrower-“weather.
In the four weeks of harvest we had not more than 10 liter rain. So we had luck and picked every day.
Seldom for the harvest have been temperatures nearby 30°C. The grape pickers search the shadow places during the lunch.
The result of the good weather was that we had the option to harvest absolutely top quality grapes cause of the evaporation of the water.

After 29 days of harvest- without a break- the end was on the 10th of October.
It was the earliest harvest ever. For the harvest 2011 we needed 265 picking hours per hectare. This is really high but at the end this is the important point when the decay starts so early and the selection of the grapes is necessary. The most winegrower thought in the middle of August that it would be a “big” harvest but the decay was the reason that we must be consequent during the harvest and select every vineyard. Some vineyards have been picked three times.
In comparison of the harvest machine – which needs 5 hours per hectare- the handpicked grapes must have a higher price.
At the end we had an average of 53, 5 hl/ha so this is an annual average.

 


 

Vineyard size                    total: 20, 78 ha
                                            with Yield: 19, 89 ha

Varieties:                            Riesling 40%
                                             Pinot varieties: 50%
                                             Pinot Noir: 20%
                                            Pinot Blanc: 18%
                                            Pinot Gris: 5%
                                            Chardonnay: 7%
                                            10% Gewürztraminer, Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Silvaner

Vintage 2011                    Start: 13.09.2011
                                           End: 10.10.2011

Picking hours:                  Total: 5250
                                           Per ha: 264

Yield:                                 53, 3 hl/ha

Weather:                          Ø temperature: 11, 8° C
                                           Precipitation: 590 l/m²

Sunshine hours:              2350