Let us recall that the past two vintages proved to be much too short in quantities so that we could not satisfy our customers demand. By November of last year cellars of many producers were empty, especially here in the MOSEL region.
We are happy to report that the vintage 2014 has relieved us of this shortage, at least for the time being. In fact, the current demand has forced producers to bottle some 2014 wines already this December which is much earlier than in past years.
However, it was not a vintage without problems and the biggest threat came – believe it or not – from an ‘Asian fruit fly’ called Drosophila Suzuki. Nobody had ever heard about this insect which caused considerable damage foremost to red grapes such as DORNFELDER and REGENT. This fly attack to the grapes caused a dangerous acid with the result that these grapes could not be used for wine making. From where the fly came has not been identified but the warm winter of 2013/14 allowed the eggs of many insects to survive whilst they would have been destroyed during harsh winter conditions. More than 30% of the Dornfelder yield had to be destroyed. Too warm climate in spring caused the earliest bud break on record in early April and we were lucky not to be hit by frost early May. The flowering period started early June, two weeks ahead of average and the too warm weather allowed the flowering to finish in record time.
Rain followed and filled the grapes but also caused the vines to grow too quickly. By the end of July vegetation was almost 3 weeks ahead of normal. However, the unexpected followed in August when temperatures fell to November degrees. The latest reports say that this turbo development of the vines is due to
rising CO2 contents in the air which causes stress to the grapes. The skin of the grapes is less resistant to moisture, resulting in a quicker botrytis development. Exactly this made the producers
worry and caused an earlier than expected beginning of the harvest. This could not prevent the ASIAN FLY to attack the dark skinned grape varieties to cause considerable damages. The best
news is that the PINOT NOIR grapes did not suffer under the ASIAN FLY, most probably because the skin of the Spätburgunder = Pinot Noir grape is more resistant than the Dornfelder and Regent grapes. The MOSEL traditionally only starts picking grapes in October and this harvest suffered from a
rainy period which again resulted into a rising percentage of grapes attacked by botrytis. The large estates which harvested until early November had to accept heavy losses in quantity although some of the botrytis touched grapes in the top class vineyards will bring high qualities of fruity and semisweet wines. Top qualities could only be produced by hand-selected harvesting.