Grape Harvest Preview 2001 - Happy Ending with Sunshine
Perfect Initial Situation
The year began amidst a dry and mild winter, with minimal frost damage but also relatively low humidity. The beginning of spring was desirably sunny and mild. Flowering was problem-free for the most part, but early summer was cool for a change. Following a changeable but otherwise perfect July as far as vegetative development was concerned, August was hot and dry, stimulating maturation. By the end of August wine-growers were reporting grapes that were up to two weeks riper than usual, and the first grapes for new wine were harvested.
Rain Followed by Sunshine
Then came rain, followed by a period of changeable weather. For the most part cool temperatures and wind prevented the worst from happening to the grapes, but for the time being, hopes for the vintage had been dampened. Not until the Indian summer that everyone had longed for finally materialised at the end of September could hopes for a successful vintage be restored. The white grapes and many of the better red-wine vines as well were in astonishingly fine condition. Tartaric acid levels relative to malic acid were high, a positive sign and a result of the summer weather. Wine-growers who had delayed the harvest long enough for their red varieties to take advantage of the mild and sunny autumn weather were pleased that they did so. Some of the best growers in lower Austria as well as Burgenland's sweet wine growers will finish harvesting only by the end of November.
Careful Labour Rewarded
Those who took the trouble of constantly checking their vineyards, harvesting in several stages, and carefully selecting the grapes will be rewarded with especially high quality. The way things look at the moment, running the risk of waiting appears once again to have been the right decision. The last word concerning this vintage has yet to be spoken, but once again there seems to be cause for celebration.