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The past few winters have been relatively mild in Germany, with little or no frost damage to the vines. January through April 2001 was extremely wet, which retarded initial development somewhat, but provided water reserves in the soil that ultimately fostered growth. Bud burst took place between mid-
In all, harvest prospects were very good at the end of August. Just days later, however, the weather abruptly turned cool and wet and remained so throughout September, prompting fears and reminders of the difficult 2000 vintage when wet weather posed considerable challenges in the vineyard. Fortunately, the weather turned and October was blessed with mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine, leading to the overall excellent outcome of vintage 2001. With the exception of some Eiswein optimists, German winegrowers picked the last of their grapes during the first half of November.
Quantity and Quality
The 2001 wine harvest in most European countries was below average in size and Germany was no exception. The current estimate stands at 9 million hectoliters, approximately 12 percent less than the latest 10-
The advent of the dry varietal wines "Classic" and "Selection" in 2000 has helped heighten quality-
Of the 200 wine estates, cooperatives and commercial wineries that produced and marketed "Classic" wines during the launch period, some 90 percent intend to maintain or increase production volume, according to a recent survey conducted by the Deutsches Weininstitut, Mainz. Institute Director Armin Göring estimates that some 15 million liters of 2001 "Classic" wines will be produced in the state of Rheinland-