The 2017 grape harvest has drawn to a close, and it was one of our earliest harvests ever. An early look at the vintage reveals peppery, spicy and fruity wines with full, harmonic acidity that allow them to resemble those of the excellent 2015 vintage.
The year was marked by drastic ups-and-downs in temperatures and dramatic weather events.
After a cool January with temperatures dipping to -15C (23F), a rather warm February arrived with temps reaching above 22C (72F). That warmth, coupled with the lengthening daylight, generated vineyard growth that began as much as three weeks earlier than normal.
However, winter then returned with frost and snow flurries landing as late as the end of April. On May 10th, another frosty night hit with temperatures as low as -3C (27F), which as in the previous year resulted in late-frost damage.
Through prompt, collective action we were able to avoid even greater harm. In the general region, smoke from the burning of hay swirled through the air and so protected the vulnerable young grapes. This mea- sure can’t be considered a long-term solution, but we do hope that in the years to come these springtime cold fronts will stay away.
And then, just as quick, summer returned, and within a few days the temperature had reached 26C (79F). In late June, the first heat wave of the year hit us, and by late August some five more hot periods followed with temps reaching nearly 40C (104F).
Over the Northern Burgenland summer, thunder storms continued to pass through and dropped some rain- water that reduced the worst effects of otherwise dry weather. Nonetheless, a short supply of water was the rule over the summer.
The extreme heat built up to a powerful release in the form of hurricane-like storms and hailstorms, which in turn led to regional flooding.
For the most part, our area and vineyards were fortunately spared the effects of this capricious weather. At the beginning of September, nights turned sharply cooler and the grapes at that point were nice and ripe. We had already started the harvest in the final days of August and thanks to consistent fine weather we were able to continue in an organized and selective manner.
By mid-September, initial quantities of the harvest had made it to the cellar, and just in time before huge rainfalls hit. Following a short break in the harvest, the time arrived for the Blaufränkisch to be picked. In October we were blessed with a wonderful Beerenauslese (late harvest noble rot wine).
What a great wind-up to a very intense year.