The threat of wildfires, the extreme heatwaves, and the severe drought conditions that spanned across Europe during the 2022 growing season left many worried about the results of the early vintage. We’re relieved to report that German winemakers are optimistic about the quality of the 2022 vintage in both fruit color and flavor concentration. Loosen Bros. USA. President, Kirk Wille, and David Yang, Vice President of Sales & Operations, visited many of our producers in September and returned with fun photos of their travels as well as some insightful thoughts about the early 2022 harvest.
The intense heat in Europe this summer arrived in early June and hit its peak in August. This heat prolonged dry conditions creating vulnerable areas that are more susceptible to catching fire—fire crews are still battling wildfires in southwestern France, an area that has faced unrelenting evacuation threats. The weather conditions, like persistent winds, have made controlling these fires extremely challenging.
In Germany, the growing season has been exceptionally warm and dry. Heat has been steady, without severe heat spikes. But the heat and drought conditions have inhibited fruit development, resulting in smaller than normal berries and clusters. The grapes have thick skins which further reduces the yield of juice. Red varieties have benefited from the warm, sunny weather, giving hope for full-bodied and color-intensive wines.
There was no rain for three months, but then some showed up at the start of harvest. Everyone worked frantically to get in as much fruit as possible before the rain began again. The good news is that the clusters are loose and open which helps avoid mildew issues. There is a lot of “millerandage” (uneven berry development, aka “hens and chicks”), which also helps keep the clusters loose. The total crop will be somewhat lower than usual, but the small grapes are packed with flavor, so the wine should be delightfully intense.
Be sure you’re subscribed to our email list and following us on social media to keep up to date with the 2022 harvest and vintage! Learn more about our producers and their wines here on our website.