Harvest has begun: August 18, the first grapes were picked here in Neustadt!
Solaris - a grape variety that I know from Sweden - has been taken in at 72 Grad Oechsle.
The early grapes will be used for the 'new wine' (neuer Wein, Federweißer) which is commonly served and enjoyed during the fall festivities. This is wine where fermentation is just beginning. It looks like unfiltered applejuice, sometimes almost whitish looking and far from being clear. Yeast is in the air, in the glass and then in one's belly... The trick is to drink rather little and not get carried away. That is why there will always be wines from previous years served as well.
However, the main harvest won't start until some weeks later, in September and October. 2010 is expected to be of good quality, even if the volumes will be below average. Hailstorms in spring had some 4000 ha of vines destroyed, also cold weather during blooming caused damage. In October, the main wine festival takes place in Neustadt an der Weinstraße, where also the German Wine Queen is elected to represent the country's wines for a year. This fest is typically the one, where the new wine is served.
But also now - since April - the winefests are ongoing. There is not a weekend without some festivity in one (or even several) of the villages along the 80 km Deutsche Weinstrasse. This weekend, for example, Gimmeldingen, one of the wine-villages around Neustadt, is celebrating. Some of the wineries open their doors, like i.e. Weingut Mugler, one of our favorites since many years. A member of the VdP (Germany's leading wineries), it is owned by the Mugler family since 17th century. It is currently managed by Susanne and Harald Mugler, who have become friends of ours. They were visiting Sweden several times and serving their wines for Swedish wine enthusiasts in Ahus, where I lived the past 7 years. The estate is beautifully located in the middle of the tiny village, two very nice rooms can be booked here, 4 more rooms are being added within the next months. Living at the winery - here you can do this at very good comfort. We have done it ourselves and can really recommend it. For more info: http://www.weingut-mugler.de/. We spent a nice evening there, yesterday, with good wines, food and a guitar player who underlined the beautiful atmosphere.
The last two weekends the famous village of Deidesheim was opening doors for the winefest that was elected 'nicest winefest of the Pfalz' in 2009. It is a extremly nice festival, very popular and well visited. Sorry, I was there, enjoying it, but too busy to write about it...
Within the next two weeks only, there will be 32 winefests in the area, please read more here.
One never has to stay at home here in the Pfalz!