The 2016 vintage presents surprising diversity thanks to extreme differnces in growth cycles across the plots and vineyards along the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer.
• Erratic weather conditions lead to extremely diverse 2016 vintage
• Ayler Riesling Kabinett dry selected as an Official Wine of the 2017 Berlinale
• Confirmation of commitment to quality, the environment and occupational safety
Trier, 9 March 2017 – Rarely has the annual growth cycle of the vines varied so widely acrossthe individual sites and plots as it did in the past year. While vines on some sites were alreadyflowering, others were just seeing the onset of bud break. “Even as an experienced enologist, Istill find myself on an emotional roller coaster every wine year: hail storms, weeks of hot summerweather with no rain, outbreaks of pests or disease – our thoughts are with the vines throughout the entire year,” says Dr. Karsten Weyand, Estate Director of Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier, of the annual nail-biting experience.
But the nerve-wracking work ultimately pays off, as seen most recently at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, the Berlinale, where the 2015 Ayler Riesling Kabinett dry was selected as an Official Wine. All wines served at the Berlinale galas, receptions and in the loungesn were sourced exclusively from German vineyards. This year marked the second time, following 2013, that a Riesling from Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier has been selected.
Also in the last year, Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier successfully completed an extensive quality and safety assessment by Germany’s leading certification body for management systems, DQS (Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Zertifizierung von Qualitätssicherungssystemen). On December 14, 2016, Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier obtained certification to EcoStep standards, a quality management system for the wine sector that was largely developed at Geisenheim University. The certificate officially confirms that the estate’s operations are eco-friendly, in compliance with regulations and maintain high standards of quality in addition to meeting the core requirements of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22000 and BS 18001.
2016 growth cycle
January started off the year with temperatures that were much too warm for the season. The thermometer rarely dropped below freezing and thus a long period of frost – crucial for pest control – failed to materialize. January, February and March were marked by frequent rainfall, leading to a high level of soil saturation. Due to a lack of sunny days in the first weeks of spring and the accompanying low temperatures, the vines experienced bud break much later than in previous years. Shoot growth progressed only slowly.
The beginning of the summer months brought consistently warm weather; even at night temperatures reached 20 degrees Celsius. At the same time, heavy rainfall persisted. This problematic combination of excess water and heat resulted in an explosive outbreak of diseases like downy mildew, presenting a considerable challenge for the vines and employees alike. However, it was possible to contain the spread of the disease thanks to early detection and the decisive intervention of vineyard workers.
The most diverse vintage in years
As a result of the extreme weather conditions, flowering was late and stretched across all of June. What was most striking and unusual was the extent to which the progression of growth varied from vineyard to vineyard. Rarely have the differences in the sites between Ayl and Bernkastel been as pronounced as in 2016. “We are expecting to see an extremely varied and character-rich vintage such as we have never seen before,” says Dr. Karsten Weyand, underscoring the weather’s impact on the wine.
From August onwards the weather calmed down and a long sunny and dry phase began. The high temperatures and the abundant water supply in the soil allowed the vines to flourish. The individual berries increased in size, especially during the last few weeks before the harvest. Even the grapes that, up until July, had been subjected to erratic weather along the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer developed splendidly, maturing into small but highly concentrated berries. The sugar content of the grapes increased by more than 10 degrees Oechsle per week.
The golden season of autumn presented healthy grapes, which were very carefully harvested in the plots and sites up until early November. Currently, the majority of the must is still fermenting in the casks, but cellar master Johannes Becker, drawing on his decades of experience, predicts a “Riesling-typical vintage with a fruity and fresh character that will make itself heard.” Perhaps even at the 2018 Berlinale.