The weather was capricious this year for South Tyrol, but overall, it couldn’t have been better for wine. The year began cold, but without snow. Luckily, the soil had enough moisture stored to nourish the vines. Unusually high temperatures in April quickly brought a vigorous bud break. The warmth brought a very early end to winter dormancy and the vineyards soon thrived green and juicy. Thermometers registered summer temperatures in May, and June was unusually warm. Refreshing breezes that are so typical for our mountainous terrain first appeared in July and brought the desired cooling effect all the way down to the low lying vineyards.
What early budbreak first signalled in April, continued to prove true in summer: picking was initiated in the last week of August. First came the white grapes from the lower vineyards: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Weissburgunder (Pinot Bianco).
Blauburgunder (Pinot Nero) from the Barthenau Estate followed. Here the best preconditions existed for an exceptional vintage: well-ripened grapes with pronounced acidity – something that certainly cannot be taken for granted in this sensitive grape variety.
Gewürztraminer adores autumns with warm days and cool nights and this variety ripened as if on command from the Kolbenhof Vineyard. The grapes could be brought down into the valley quickly, but without hurry in the mild sunshine.
Picking ended with the South Tyrol’s tradition black grape Lagrein from the Steinraffler Vineyard. We don’t want to rob anyone of excited anticipation with boastful prophecies, but a great Lagrein vintage can truly be claimed. The exceptional quality of fruit from this vintage simply speaks for itself.
Thanks to the diversity of sites on the slopes on both sides of the Adige River, ideal preconditions exist for both white and black grapes. If the weather plays along and the winemaker does everything right and employs knowledge and intuition to chose the right picking times – great wines can be expected.
In this vintage, nature bestowed South Tyrol with nearly ideal weather. This gift is showing its best attributes as wines develop in our cellar. Perhaps this will be the vintage of the century. In any case, it will certainly be outstanding!