2000 VINTAGE report
THE FINE FRUITS OF INTENSIVE VINEYARD MANAGEMENT IN 2000
Vintner Skills Optimize Quality in Germany's 2000 Vintage
NEW YORK - November 30, 2000
In a year when the range of grape quality in Germany has been extraordinarily wide, with reports from "average" to "vintage of the century," the success of the 2000 vintage is attributed largely to intensive vineyard management. The spring bloom came three weeks earlier than usual, and then a steamy summer sparked a rapid growth period. By harvest time, the abundance of ripe fruit necessitated speedy gathering in order to combat the threat of spreading rot. Vintners responded by implementing round-the-clock schedules, working through the night to barrel the crop. Many chose to hand-pick the grapes for quality control, thereby reducing the size of the crop harvested. The end-result is a small yield of high quality, totaling an estimated 10,620,000 hectoliters.
So far the phenological development of the year 2000 ranks among the earliest recorded. The conditions leading up to the early blooming began with a warm, wet spring. Late April / early May saw the first shoots appear, causing many vintners anxiety over the possibility of a frost attack. Fears were assuaged by an unusually hot spell in May, which expedited a prolific blooming in the first days of June. An early summer storm promoted growth in July, and good growing conditions prevailed through the month, despite a cool spell. Following its early beginnings, a long ripening period was further encouraged by a return of summer temperatures in August. Most of the harvesting was completed between mid-September and the first week of October, with machine pre-harvesting followed by hand-picking. The fine crop indicates a significant expansion for Qualitäts and Prädikats wines.
The summer's expectations of a fine 2000 vintage have been confirmed by the Öchslegrade (measured must weights) now that harvesting is nearing completion on Riesling and other late-ripening varieties, and the extraordinary concentration and fruit quality of the young wine is already sparking accolades of praise.
Production of the Prädikats wines appears uniform in most regions, with Kabinett and Spätlese each accounting for approximately 30 percent of the harvest; and high ripeness levels have facilitated Auslese, with regions reporting up to 10 percent. And, once again, it was possible to produce the varieties Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese in all regions. Evaluating the vintage, Deutsches Weininstitut Director Armin Göring commented, "The early harvest created a challenging beginning to the new millennium, and vintners deserve praise for their fine management skills. Current signs are highly favorable, and we are confident that this first vintage will show good to very good qualities."