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The 2004 harvest was completed on 21st November, except for those grapes remaining for Eiswein, and, nobody will believe us, but we can once again mark up a fine vintage, albeit not as great as the “best-
In fact, all vintage qualities in Germany have been better than average since the 1988 crop. Improved technology in the vineyards and cellars, a better understanding of the vines, careful pruning and spraying, intensified foliage
management, yield restriction and global warming contribute to this achievement. Looking back in history, there had been disastrous vintages, such as 1956, according to Stephan Studert (vintage 1923 himself) and more recently, 1965, 1968 and 1980 join that miserable collection, with 1972 & 1978 following close behind.
Although this year’s summer in Germany was disappointing, the total weather picture was fine for the vines. One can however assume that the vintners would not have coped with the weather, had this happened a generation ago. The vineyards suffered no winter damage, and the bud break began successfully mid-
The weather improved dramatically on 30th August, and summer temperatures up to 28C (77F) held on until 6th October. Harvesting of early varietals, such as Müller-
The healthy state of the grapes did not lead to wide-
The total crop in Germany will be slightly higher than 2002 (10.2 million hl), and nearly 30% more than the small-