While other European countries expect significantly reduced harvests this year Austria seems to have had a lucky escape. As its winemakers prepare to pick their grapes, beginning in mid to late September, Johannes Schmuckenschlager, Chairman of the Austrian Winegrowers' Association is predicting a crop of 2.4m hl – a similar figure to last year.
Climatically, the vines rode a rollercoaster. The cooler first half of the year ensured that Austria - unlike France in particular - was spared late frosts because the vines sprouted later than in recent years. This also led to a later harvest. In the summer, there were many warm days but also significant amounts of rain. According to the Winegrowers' Association, 1,000 ha of vines in the Weinviertel growing region were massively damaged by hail on June 24. In other parts of Austria, heavy rains led to fungal damage to grapes and soil erosion.
Also, unlike their counterparts in some other countries, Austria's winemakers are hoping the later harvest will give them wine of better than average quality. "By shifting the ripening to a normal, somewhat cooler period, a sufficient level of acidity is expected in addition to the appropriate sugar concentrations, which is why very fruity and harmonious wines can be expected," according to a press release from Österreich Wein Marketing (ÖWM).