Winter of 2019/2020 was pretty mild, hardly no snow or ice, certainly a trend of the last few years. However, rain above the average amount in February was very welcome, as it finally provided some soil moisture. Not enough to completely fill up the reserves in the deeper soil layers, but at least a little relaxation.
With the relatively early budding of the vines from April 7th, we had to think about the danger of late frost. If the vegetation is too high, the vineyards are generally more susceptible to frost damage. Therefore, the last time to mulch the greenery in our vineyards was on April 14th, during the night the temperatures even in the Forster monster dropped to minus 2 degrees. Without these measures, the frost damage in our vineyards would not have gone so lightly, as is so often the case in organic viticulture, the right timing is crucial and always thinking one step ahead.
On our 2 hectare fallow land - which was not mulched and will not be planted with new vines until next year - numerous insects were able to enjoy phacelia and crimson clover until summer.
In April we planted new vines in the Pechstein, created the complete wire frame and the first pending work, such as Break out and remove double shoots, started. This year we were actively supported by our colleagues from the hotel and catering sector - a new and wonderful experience for both sides.
The rest of spring and summer - as so often in recent years - were far too dry, but luckily no extreme heat. Occasionally there were a few drops of rain that kept the vines vital and so we could start the grape harvest on August 24th. As always, we started with the grapes for our basic sparkling wine: Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir, followed by Chardonnay. With increasing maturity, the Rieslings were then picked for sparkling wine, as well as for our estate Riesling and Ortswein like Deidesheimer and Forster Riesling. Due to the constant weather, we were able to harvest practically every day, but our working day was partly already over at noon because it was simply too hot.
From mid-September we were able to selectively pick perfectly ripened grapes for our Erste Lage and Grosse Lage Rieslings. Absolutely flawless, healthy grapes found their way onto our press and into the cellar. Botrytis just showed a little bit in the end, and without the famous noble rot we weren't able to harvest Trockenbeerenauslese, but you can't have everything. For the dry wines it was a perfect harvest.
Gregor Hofer, Head Winemaker and Managing Director:
As so often in recent years, we had an early start to the harvest in 2020, especially our basic sparkling wines. Concerns that we might have too low acid levels in the musts have fortunately not come true. The selective hand-picking enabled us to get the best out of our vineyards again this year. We were enthusiastic about the quality of the musts across all grape varieties, which has not been taken for granted this year. After the labor-intensive weeks of harvesting grapes, normal working life returned. Most wines have already fermented and the young wines can now develop in peace in our cellars. We are already looking forward to introducing you to our new 2020 vintage.
Christian Bohmüller, Vineyard Manager:
2020 was a relaxed and calm harvest, which, in addition to the fantastic weather, was certainly also due to our great team. Starting with the picking crew – due to the Covid 19 restrictions divided in two locations - and continuing with the field operations team, which was responsible for transport, assigning the harvest workers and quality control. Then the team at the winepress, responsible for the smooth processing of the grapes delivered and, last but not least, the hard-working cellar team, who processed the must into wine after appropriate preliminary clarification in the appropriate barrels and stainless steel tanks. I want to thank our experienced team as well as the very committed and interested new faces.