Weather conditions have been less than optimal
On 11 September, the grape harvest officially began in Luxembourg – an exceptionally early date, because it normally starts towards the end of the month. However, the vines have suffered due to drastic weather changes this year. As a result, the remaining grapes have ripened much faster than usual meaning that the quantity is slightly lower than usual but the quality is second to none.
2017 has been marked by difficult weather conditions for Luxembourg’s vineyards. After a dry and cold winter, an unexpected late cold snap at the end of April destroyed some of the fruit on the vines. Temperatures dropped below freezing for several nights in a row, affecting not only Luxembourg’s vineyards, but also its orchards and vegetable gardens, causing substantial losses. A dry and extremely hot June put a strain on the young vineyards in particular, and they had to be watered to compensate for the lack of rain.
Quality has not suffered
Although the weather conditions have not been ideal, the vineyards have still managed to fare well, according to data from the Vini-viticole institute (IVV). Statistics show that while the quantity of grapes harvested is lower than usual – around just 80% –, the vines have partly compensated for the loss by yielding even larger grapes.
In terms of quality, the weather actually favoured Luxembourg’s wine growers: the high temperatures in June made the grapes ripen faster, which is why the grape harvest officially began earlier this year. The Rivaner grape is a clear example of this year’s trend: it normally starts to ripen around 17 August, whereas this year it started around 1 August.
The colder weather in August then created the ideal conditions to develop the aromas in the grapes. The IVV is therefore satisfied with the results and looking forward to the wines from this year’s harvest.
A first taste of the new vintage will be available in shops from 22 September, the launch date of Fierderwäissen – a fresh and fruity young wine that is still fermenting. This new wine normally hits the shelves around ten days after the start of the harvest and is only available for a very short time.
According to figures from the IVV, around 23% of the grapes harvested are of the Rivaner variety, followed by the Pinot gris (15%), Auxerrois (15%), Pinot blanc (12.5%) and Riesling (12.5%) varieties.
(article written by the editorial team of the portal luxembourg.lu)