The phenomena of climate change and resultant global warming also affected the year 2007. Once again, weather observations yielded record-breaking data: after a winter that was clearly too mild, spring weather in April and May was extremely warm. Furthermore, even though the summer often did not feel very “summery,” temperatures registered during the growing season were the highest since recordkeeping began (1884), even breaking the record set in 2003.
Naturally, these climatic conditions had a considerable affect on the vines. A very warm April led to an extremely early bud burst. Warm temperatures continued in May, so that vines blossomed during the second half of the month – the earliest blossoming since time immemorial. The warmth lasted through early June and by mid-June, vegetation was more than three weeks ahead of schedule. Rather average weather during the rest of summer reduced this head start. Nevertheless, the grapes began to ripen in the Rheingau on 3 August – precisely as early as in the “record year” 2003. The difference was that the development of the grapes (after early blossoming) continued more slowly and consistently, thanks to a better distribution of sunshine and rainfall than in 2003.
Because of this perfect weather pattern, vines had optimal supplies of water and nutrients, and despite the relatively early harvest (due to early blossoming), Riesling grapes could remain on the vines for a long time – an important factor for this grape variety.
Even the grapes harvested the earliest had exceptionally high extract values (even higher than in 2005 and 2006) and showed a perfect physiological ripeness and well-developed aromas. As such, the early harvest yielded fine Kabinett and light Spätlese qualities that will be bottled as Qualitätswein (Gutsriesling).
In all, ideal weather conditions enabled us to leisurely extend the harvest over seven weeks and selectively harvest the best grapes for other Prädikat wines. For the 19th consecutive year we were able to harvest every Prädikat, including Trockenbeerenauslese with up to 256 degrees Oechsle, in our Grand Cru sites Kiedricher Gräfenberg and Kiedricher Turmberg.
In addition to the exceptionally high quality of the 2007 vintage, the wonderful climatic conditions during the year provided us with a higher yield. After five short years, this brings us back to our long-term average.
It still seems that the Rheingau will be one of the regions to benefit from increasingly warmer weather. In the future, despite higher temperatures, it will still be possible to produce wines with an ideal Riesling profile – finesse, mineral character, and fine acidity – particularly in the stony soils in the higher sites in the foothills of the Taunus Hills. In addition to these natural advantages of terroir, with God’s blessing we were able to harvest our grapes over a long period of time, after a picture-perfect growing season in 2007.