Germany is gearing up for its earliest grape harvest on record thanks to the ongoing heatwave, with grapes due to be picked in the Rheinhessen next week.
As reported by The Telegraph, as German farmers are facing failed crops due to a lack of rain, the country’s winemakers are preparing for a bumper harvest this year.
The first German region to begin picking will be the country’s largest grape growing area – the Rheinhessen on the banks of the river Rhine.
“This year we are extremely early. The development of the vines is a good three weeks ahead of the 30-year average,” Ernst Büscher of the German Wine Institute told Spiegel magazine.
According to The Telegraph, the harvest will begin in the Rheinhessen on 6 August, two days ahead of the previous record set in 2011.
German vintners are hoping this year’s early harvest will help them better compete with their warmer winemaking rivals in Italy, France and Spain.
The first thing to be made will be ‘federweisser’ (meaning feather white), a low alcohol cloudy juice made from grape must with an ABV of around 4%.
Sold from early September to October in Germany and enjoyed with savoury dishes like onion cake, given its short lifespan federweisser is rarely exported to the UK but around 11m litres are sold annually in Germany.
“We are usually four weeks behind the federweisser from Italy, but this year we can catch up faster,” Albrecht Ehses of the local chamber of commerce, told The Telegraph.