German Riesling in the golden month of October....
The harvest is round the corner - at last! All the hard work put into the vineyard the whole year round will be finally compensated for with reward and glory, writes Ariff Jamal. All actions and decisions undertaken towards attaining the highest level of quality, including pruning, soil and canopy management and plant protection, now stand to be assessed. Left: Grape harvest in progress: Harvest time in Germany is usually October or November
In the proper sense of the word, the moment has arrived to bear fruit of the highest level of ripeness. As simple as this may sound, there is one element, and yet a key element that man cannot influence - the weather.
As the saying goes, "There is no such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothing", so the winemaker has to choose the right "clothes" for his vineyard. He has to observe and react specifically to the high and low pressure areas, respond to the cold and warm spells, respond to humidity and drought conditions and all this with one aim in mind - protecting his vineyard.
The current vintage's weather patterns indicate a year of great challenge.
Some highlights were a good deal of precipitation in combination with warm temperatures in spring amounting to wonderful conditions for the spread of fungal disease. So to minimize the risk, the attentive winemaker had to adjust his protective measures as best as possible and employ different methods of canopy management to ventilate and keep the grapes dry.
Then, with the summer months came the heat and drought - so the winemaker's attention was driven towards reduction of leaves to prevent sunburn of the sensitive berry skin but at the same time create pleasant micro climatical conditions for the grapes to be hidden behind the leaves in shadow.
The cool September temperatures caused a slowdown in the grape ripening leading to better development of aromas and flavours in the berries. And as luck would have it, finally this period ended up with a golden October - cool but with ample sunlight.
The harvest will begin soon and the rewards of our annual labours, doubts, uncertainties and hopes will be collected and turned into a nectar which will forever carry the memories of this vintage.