The weather in early 2019 was dry and unusually mild, with budbreak setting in at an early stage. The first apricot blossoms were seen on 20 March. Originally an early harvest had been expected as with the previous vintage. But then came May, bringing long-awaited rains and cooler temperatures that slowed the burgeoning vines and brought growth, already well advanced, back into balance.
Flowering progressed well from 10 to 20 June, followed by a summer marked by very hot temperatures on some days and extremely dry periods. Autumn weather arrived on schedule for the harvest in mid-September, and with it warm and mostly sunny days and progressively cooler temperatures at night. There was a marked difference in how the grape varieties ripened. While Riesling showed only moderate sugar levels on into October, Grüner Veltliner quickly sweetened sooner, allowing harvesting to progress rapidly.
Much points to 2019 as having the potential of becoming one of the most elegant and subtle vintages seen in recent years. After maturing long on the vine, the grapes have given rise to profound aromas across all wine styles. The wines are marked by minerality and precision in combination with complexity – and with a powerful character in the case of some Veltliners.
Sufficient precipitation and low temperatures marked the outset of 2018 wine year, and budding began relatively late.
But April and May were unusually warm, so that vineyards were soon able to make up for the late start, with flowering setting in already in late May. The warm June weather then accelerated flowering, while a cooler period later in July ultimately gave way to a very hot summer.
An intense bout of hail hit the Spitzer Graben on June 21, leaving in its wake significant yield losses near the villages of Viessling and Gut am Steg.
Thanks to the hot summer weather, harvesting began very soon, already in early September, only to continue as usual until well into October, and even November in the vicinity of Spitz.
The yield for Grüner Veltliner was moderately higher than expected for most years, while smaller quantities than in past years were harvested of other varietals, such as Riesling and Weißburgunder/Pinot blanc.
Balanced, dense and elegant, the wines of 2018 are marked by a style typical of cooler vintages. Compared with 2017, the wines rate somewhat lower on alcohol content and surprisingly high on acidity.
The year began with frosty temperatures and snow in January, but the two following months were already quite warm, with the first shoots appearing very early at the beginning of April. As a risk of frost loomed again in the second week of April, the winemakers reacted very quickly and, based on their experiences in the previous year, took early measures to counteract. This time the damage was limited to a few areas, so that flowering at the beginning of June proved satisfactory.
The weather remained agreeable, culminating in one of the hottest summers since temperatures have been recorded. There was hardly any rain during this time, so that the foliage rapidly started showing initial signs of drought. Drip irrigation played a major role for that year’s vines. Vineyards that were not equipped needed to be painstakingly watered on a regular basis. Thus, the winemakers were thrilled when the much anticipated rain came in mid-August, while September also saw much lower temperatures.
Favoured by early budbreak and the warm temperatures, harvest in the Wachau began relatively early, in mid-September. With grapes ripening quickly, the harvest team had to work fast, and the harvest was already completed in October, rendering very clean grapes.
The amount harvested was satisfactory throughout the wine-growing region, even if Riesling yields were slightly lower. The wines presented themselves with a luscious depth of fruit and concentration. Acidity levels were also pleasantly high despite the warm vintage, not unlike the wines of 2015.
The wine year began mild and with much precipitation alternating between snow and rain, which favoured soil moisture. Budbreak in mid-April was followed by a very challenging period for the Wachau, as for the rest of Austria and many other European wine-growing countries. At the end of April, several nights of frost caused damage to the vines to an extent unseen by the active winemaker generation. In the Wachau, the Spitzer Graben was hit particularly hard, where losses of up to 90% were recorded. But Weißenkirchen and the villages of Arnsdorf also saw significant yield losses.
Despite the early start, the vines only flowered late, towards the end of June. The summer got to a slow start with repeated rainfall, which called for intensive foliage work in the vineyard. The first stable period of fine weather arrived only in late August, enabling a good start for the harvest at the end of September. Starting in the second half of October, the weather caused several interruptions in the harvest, which was then prolonged into mid-November. Due to the frost-related losses in the west of the Wachau, the harvest finished around the same time in both parts of the region.
The wines were more reticent than in the previous year, but the pleasant acidity along with the concentration on the palate indicate that they will mature well in the years to follow.
2015 began like the previous year with a mild and dry winter. Budbreak was relatively late, from mid to late April. The much anticipated rain came in May, providing ideal conditions for flowering. Then the record heat period began: July was the hottest month in the almost 250 years since the beginning of measurement, even topping the “hot” vintages of 2003 and 2006.
The heat was also accompanied by massive drought, and relief came only in August. On the other hand, these weather conditions also led to very low fungal disease pressure and allowed the harvest to begin at an ideal time in mid-September. The grape harvest progressed rapidly until the second week of October, when it was interrupted repeatedly by rain. However, since quite cool temperatures already prevailed at the time, botrytis was mainly limited to the Riesling vines, and here even only to the batches harvested last.
The wines are full and powerful, particularly compared with the previous vintages. At the same time they are well-supported by an energising acidity that adds to their freshness. Due to the weather conditions, only a few Steinfeder wines were produced in this vintage, with the share of Smaragd wines all the greater.
An unusually dry and mild winter was followed by spring-like temperatures in the second half of March – leading to early vegetation growth. The apricots flowered between 18 and 30 March and the vines also started very early. This led to fears of a late frost which fortunately did not come. In the middle of May long-awaited rain finally fell leading to a provisional end to the extreme drought. A very warm period from the start to the middle of June led to a rapid and ideal flowering period (5 to 17 June). The favourable weather held until the middle of August leading to expectations of top quality, together with good yields.
However, this was followed by a very humid period with simultaneously high night time temperatures. This led to a high level of disease pressure which was magnified by the fact that maturity was already far advanced, and that bunches were very tight.
The harvest, which commenced around the end of September proved to be extremely problematic requiring unprecedented efforts in sorting the grapes. The weather situation only stabilised in October but this meant that Smaragd wines were able to be harvested from the end of October to mid November albeit with significant patience, effort and shortfalls in yield.
On the whole, the vintage was characterised by lighter wines showing elegance and spice. Smaragd wines were only harvested in tiny quantities this year and they show a refined lightness of touch.
After a long winter with a very cold period from the second half of March to the first half of April, spring arrived finally around the middle of April. Apricots flowered late, from 15 to 23 April and springtime fell back into cool wet weather in May. At the beginning of June there was another once-in-a-hundred-years flood event, with a high water level only slightly below that of 2002.
Grape flowering took place during a short, extreme heat wave (approx from 15 to 20 June), which led to some coulure problems with Grüner Veltliner. There was a very wide range of yield reductions across the Wachau. A very hot and dry period from July to mid-August, led to water stress in extreme, dry-farmed sites. The rather cool and wet weather from 10 September delayed the maturity somewhat, and the harvest was brought in from the beginning of October until mid-November in fair weather conditions.
It was a Grüner Veltliner vintage which produced lighter to extremely powerful wines with powerful acid structures depending on the yield. The Rieslings are concentrated, elegant, and have incisive acidities.
A dry winter with intermittent low temperatures which fell to -20° in February, was followed by rapid warming in the second half of March, leading to the apricots starting to flower on 20 March. After a temporary cooling in April (which led to significant frost damage to the apricots), summery weather started from the end of April causing a burst of vegetative growth.
Late frost damage on 18 May 2012 generally failed to land a knockout blow in the Wachau, but there were a few sites which suffered significant damage. Early flowering took place from the end of May until approx. 10 June, leading to advanced development, which continued all through the very dry summer, up to the early start to the harvest in mid-September. Dry-farmed vineyards suffered from the ongoing drought. There was beautiful autumn weather throughout the months of September and October which meant that there were practically no cases of botrytis infection enabling very healthy grapes to be harvested. The grape harvest lasted until about 10 November, with extended hang time for the Rieslings destined to be made into Smaragd wines. The vintage shows very balanced, dense wines with pure aromatics and good potential. The quantities – with the exception of vineyards with frost damage – are quite good.
An average winter was followed by a very mild beginning to springtime. The apricots flowered from the end of March to about 10 April. Continuing very warm April days brought early grape growth at the end of April. A frost in the night of 5 to 6 May led to damage to young shoots in valley sites in the Eastern part of the Wachau.
Vegetation progressed very quickly in May, leading to early flowering which took place in optimal weather conditions from the end of May to around 10 June. Following flowering, there was rather cooler but very dry weather until the middle of August, and just when heat waves were not expected any more, one came over the second half of August (with a record high of around 38° Celsius on 26 August 2012). An Indian summer followed in September, leading to very early ripening. The harvest began in mid-September, but again lasted until the beginning of November. The warm and dry autumn produced consistently very high must weights without significant botrytis. This results in very strong, dense wines with harmonious acid structures and great ageing potential. After two lower-yielding years, the quantity produced was highly satisfactory.
At the beginning of the year there was a "classic" winter with a continuous blanket of snow until the end of February. The apricots flowered rather late from the beginning of April until the 20 April. A very cool and unusually rainy May (with 180 mm of rainfall, which may have been a record) delayed vegetative growth. Flowering took place between 10 June and the end of the month, with partly cold and wet weather leading to significant coulure damage for both Grüner Veltliner as well as Riesling. A very hot July was followed by much cooler weather which continued into the autumn. The grapes ripened slightly later than usual (with a start to the harvest around 15 October). Nevertheless, a warm foehn wind at the beginning of November led to very high must weights coupled with incisive acidities all without the slightest trace of botrytis. 2010s are very clear, elegant wines with a characteristic acid structure, but the quantities are unfortunately very low.
After the rather cold winter months, growth started relatively late (the apricots flowered from 5 to 10 April). This led to a very sunny, warm April – without any April weather! - which led to growth catching up extremely quickly and very early budbreak. This was followed by early flowering between the end of May and 10 June. Significant rainfall over the second half of June led to high waters in the Danube. This was followed by heavy thunderstorms in the Wachau in July. The streams broke their banks and caused serious mudslides in places. Fortunately though, there was no hail damage. Wet and very warm weather in September brought heavy botrytis infection especially for Riesling, which proved very demanding time for winemakers. High must weights brought wines with concentration and enormous potential and expectations of a great vintage, albeit with significantly lower quantities in places.
Again, the winter was very mild, leading to the apricots blossoming from 10 until the end of March. Early budbreak followed rather cool spring weather so that the vines flowered at the normal time, from 5 to 20 June. Exceptionally high rainfall in June and July in conjunction with very high night time temperatures represented major challenges for the winegrowers. A beautiful, late summer was followed by a cool, wet autumn, which considerably delayed ripening. From mid-November, there were strong winds. By allowing the grapes extended hang time target Smaragd-level quality was achieved. The harvest ended at the beginning of December. The vintage shows somewhat lighter, but very characterful, elegant wines with spicy acidities.
An extremely mild winter (the almonds flowered in mid-February, and the apricots in mid-March!) was followed by very early budbreak of the vines around the 15 April. A dry spring followed. Flowering weather was optimal, which is a prerequisite for a good-sized harvest. The exceptionally early flowering from the end of May until the beginning of June pointed towards a very early harvest. A hot and dry July was followed by a rather cooler August, accompanied by rainy weather (140 l/m2!) in September, which pushed harvest timings backwards. Further rain in October caused considerable concern on Smaragd quality levels. However, selective picking (which lasted well into November in places) led to the production of very balanced, characterful wines with exceptional elegance and ease of drinking.
There was another long winter with snow until mid-March. The consequent good level of water supply led to a surge in vegetative growth in June. During the flowering (from 14 to 26 June) the extremely hot and dry weather led to berry set problems for the Grüner Veltliner. There were cases of significant coulure damage. A hot and dry July was followed by a cool, wet August. A fantastic Indian summer started at the beginning of September and continued until the end of October. This “autumn of the century” led to very high must weights and healthy grapes. The first tastings suggest that the wines will rank alongside the greats from legendary vintages. Unfortunately, Grüner Veltliner quantities were low.
Started with a cold winter (snow until mid-March) followed by rapid warming. There was a good supply of moisture in the spring, and flowering took place normally, between 8 and 23 June. A very large amount of rain fell in July and August (together about 300 l/m2) which raised concerns over the quality of the vintage. However, a picture book October delivered an excellent vintage with great depth and finesse and balanced acid structures.
Cooler and warmer periods alternated through winter and spring. Flowering lasted from 10 to 25 June. A wet June delivered good water reserves and then there was a dry summer until mid-September. Cool, wet weather followed, and continued into October. The harvest began late, on 20 October. It was possible to bring in a good quality harvest over the month of November, but only with a lot of patience and significant reductions in yield, particularly in the case of Riesling. The wines are somewhat leaner than usual, but show great elegance especially the Rieslings which are accompanied by a tangy acidity.
A cold January and February was followed by very warm Spring months, which led to a very early flowering period (from the end of May until 10 June). This was followed by a very hot summer with rapid vegetative progress. Despite the harvest starting early, rain at the beginning of October meant that it was a long drawn-out process. The early onset of winter on 24 October saw temperatures drop to -5°C and snowfall of 10 cm. This interrupted the harvest, which finally finished between 10 and 15 November. The vintage produced very charming, harmonious and full-bodied wines. Great vintage.
Mild winter. Heavy precipitation in March led to the first flood of the year. A dry and warm spring followed, with relatively early flowering from 5 to 15 June, and optimal weather until the beginning of August. Extreme rainfall then set in – the period from 6 to 12 August saw 220l/m² of rain – and this led to the worst flood since time immemorial, causing the collapse of a large number of stone walls and requiring the rebuilding of a total of 50,000m² of masonry over the following years. Subsequent dry and warm weather caused the grapes to ripen well. These are classic wines with distinctive varietal typicity.
A mild winter was followed by a rather cool spring, and consequently slightly later flowering (15 to 25 June). A very beautiful August was followed by a somewhat cooler September, somewhat delaying ripening. October saw a large number of morning fogs which were soon burnt off by the sun. Very fine, elegant Rieslings with good acid structures, later harvested Grüner Veltliners bring great density and concentration. There were also a few very good noble sweet wines.
Very warm weather in April led to early budbreak around 20 April which was followed by the earliest flowering on record between 25 May and 8 June. June and August were extremely hot. The harvest started very early on 15 September. At the beginning of October rain set in and brought botrytis. The harvest lasted for a very long period as it needed to be so selective. This vintage had ripe to opulent wines with good ageing potential despite slightly lower levels of acidity.
A very warm May followed a somewhat cooler June. Flowering lasted from 10 to 20 June. The summer months were beautiful with well spaced-out rainfall distribution and an exceptionally sunny September, laying the foundations for an excellent year. The Rieslings are distinguished by their elegance, whilst the Grüner Veltliners have captivating ripeness and suppleness, with bags of juicy fruit.
An abnormally warm period from February to the start of March brought very early apricot flowering (beginning on 8 March, but hit by a -5°C frost on 11 and 12 March). Warm months in May and June led to early flowering from 6th to 20 June. Average summer temperatures with sufficient rainfall were good for ripening the grapes. Humid, misty weather at the beginning of October triggered high levels of botrytis infection which can be seen in the character of the wines. The vintage is best characterised by dense, concentrated Smaragds which need a few years of cellaring to reveal their full quality potential, as well as a large number of sweet wines.
Very low temperatures at the end of December 1996 caused winter frost damage to flat sites. Late budbreak. A beautiful May led to development catching up again. Flowering lasted from around 10 to 20 June. A cooler July with good water supply was followed by a warm August and an ideal September. Healthy grapes and the large temperature differences in the autumn lend the 1997 vintage its distinctive character.
The winter was long, with continuous snowfall and was followed by a warm, wet spring, and early flowering between approx. 10 and 23 June. Vegetative growth was fast until the end of August but then a cold, wet September set in with hardly any sunshine. This led to significantly delayed ripening which could only be partly offset by a very late harvest. The Rieslings especially have a striking level of acidity. The harvest quantities were low.
February and March were very mild, and the apricots began to flower in mid-March. Early budbreak. The damp and cool June delayed flowering somewhat (18 – 27 June). A warm summer and well-spaced out precipitation set the scene for ripe grapes. The first half of October was wet and foggy, leading to botrytis in mid-October. As this was followed by very fine weather the grapes had a period of concentration. The vintage produced very dense, rich wines with good botrytis notes. There was a small number of very good Beerenausleses and Trockenbeerenausleses.
A rather cool, wet spring (with flowering approx. 15 – 25 June) was followed by an extremely hot and dry summer. Dry-farmed, terraced sites suffered from significant drought damage. The wines were not very accessible in their youth but late harvested sites with sufficient moisture produced "great wines".
There was snow cover from the end of January until about 10 March, and the beginning of February was very cold. Very warm weather from the end of April brought a surge in growth, and early flowering took place from the beginning to the middle of June. A warm summer and a fine autumn led to good grape ripening. High air humidity in October caused light levels of botrytis which had a good effect on quality.
Late budbreak followed by rapid vegetative growth. Flowering took place between 5 – 15 June). A very hot and dry Summer meant that harvesting began early with very ripe grapes. The vintage produced smooth, full-bodied wines which were slightly lacking in acidic tanginess in their youth.
Later budbreak; May and the beginning of June were very wet and cool; very late flowering took place between 25 June and 10 July. July and August were also cold for the time of year. The beginning of August saw the worst Danube flood since 1954. A beautiful September and October "saved" the vintage, which saw fruity, slightly leaner wines with a firm backbone of acidity. Early frost at the end of October gave a slight ice wine character to the grapes which were harvested last.
After a snow-free winter and 25°C in March, April was very cool. Good supply of moisture in the spring, flowering took place from 20 – 30 June). The period from the middle of July to the end of August was very hot and dry, followed by a cool September and a very fine October. The vintage produced excellent qualities together with good yields.
A rather mild winter was followed by a cool, wet spring, which led to a long flowering period from mid June to early July. The damp and cool weather of the early year continued over the summer and led to late grape ripening, but this was followed by a beautiful late autumn. Average yields, light wines with varietal typicity and pronounced acidity.
Very mild winter, first snowfall on 27 February. Flowering took place from the middle of June to 25 June. Autumn was warm and dry and the harvest weather was very fine. The vintage showed both good yield and good quality, and was partly influenced by the warm weather during the harvest.
A very cold winter led to some frost damage in lower sites. A cool May led to late flowering. The cool summer was followed by a fine autumn. Later ripening brought wines characterised by lightness, fruit notes and acidic structure.
A cold winter led to budbreak on 25 April. Very early flowering, hot summer with little rain. Ripening commenced very early. The harvest was mostly completed by 20 October. Healthy grapes, high levels of ripeness and good acidities meant that the wines were very full-bodied and long-lived. Harvest quantities were rather low. The "Federspiel" and "Honivogl” categories were introduced. The latter became "Smaragd” from 1987 onwards.
A very cold winter with an ice jam on the Danube as far as Dürnstein, leading to a small crop. Well spaced-out precipitation over the summer and a fine autumn meant that very good quality, delicate, fruity wines were typical for 1985.
Later budbreak (beginning of May) and a very late and long flowering period (20 June to 10 July). Summer was too cool, which delayed the start of maturity further. The harvest began very late, in contrast to 1983. Light, fruity wines with good acid structure; the "Steinfeder” category was born.
Warm January, early budbreak and early flowering took place during the driest and hottest summer (for a century), very fine autumn. This led to healthy grapes with high must weights and somewhat lower acidity. Good yield. The year was characterised by very full-bodied, harmonious wines, which, despite the lower acid, have very good ageing potential.