After a snowy winter, budbreak began in South Tyrol (Alto Adige) somewhat later than the long-term average. This is also why no late frost damage occurred. We even experienced desirably late budbreak in Maso Michei, our farmstead up in the mountains of south Trentino.
Despite this, the heatwave in April and May led to early flowering with the exception of the more highly elevated vineyards at Maso Michei and Gut Oberkerschbaum. Flowering in Tramin and Mazon was already completed in May and fruit set was more abundant and homogenous compared to the previous year. The premature advancement in vegetation continued in our warm vineyard slopes in South Tyrol until the commencement of harvest.
After several rain showers at the end of May and beginning of June, a warm and dry summer settled in. Drought and long, hot periods with spikes exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 °F) pushed our sites on warm gravelly soils or with young vines to their stress limits. Cautious and only selective leaf plucking and carefully chosen green cover in our vineyards helped to mitigate water stress.
We fortunately escaped hail this year, but the hail nets we installed last winter also served as protection from the sun. We observed a significant difference: grapes protected by the nets suffered less from the intense sun radiation than those that remained unprotected. Shielded grapes arrived at the winery plumper and juicier.
Due to the dry weather and rapid vegetation development, there was no fungal disease during the 2018 vegetation period. Vintner intervention remained minimal.
Despite it all, this year’s harvest did not occur according to script. Due to the long dry period, the harvest began at the same time in nearly all of our vineyards, independent of elevation, whether Gewürztraminer in the west or Pinot Noir in the east. Our diligent harvest workers were truly challenged.
Thanks to two very welcome rainfalls at the beginning of September, the harvest could be slightly delayed until the optimal ripeness was achieved also for Pinot Bianco, Müller Thurgau and Sauvignon. A picture-perfect autumn with dry, sunny days followed and the end of October brought us perfectly ripe Lagrein, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It was a very long and labour-intensive harvest!
We have only positive things to report from our vineyards in the Mosel: a sunny and dry autumn gifted us with grapes of the highest quality. It is a vintage that will remain long in our memory!
We are happily anticipating a very promising vintage of superb quality!