L-R: Romain Schneider, Luxembourg's Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture & Rural Development; Leon Gloden, Mayor of Grevenmacher; Erny Schumacher, OPVI; Antoine Clasen, Bernard Massard; Credit: MA

On Tuesday 5 October 2021, Luxembourg's Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, Romain Schneider, met with winemakers in the Maacher Fels vineyard in Grevenmacher.

The visit was an opportunity for the Agriculture Minister to help out the grape pickers and discuss with winemakers the quality of the harvest. Representatives of the Professional Organisation of Independent Winegrowers (Organisation professionnelle des vignerons indépendants - OPVI), Domaines Vinsmoselle, the Luxembourg Federation of Wines and Spirits (Fédération luxembourgeoise des vins et spiritueux) and the Wine Institute (Institut viti-vinicole - IVV) were present.

Despite the vagaries of the weather throughout the year, a warm and dry late summer contributed to a "promising" 2021 vintage.

Unstable weather

Spring 2021 was marked by unstable weather conditions. The vines stayed longer than usual in the “bud in cotton” stage, only breaking bud around 4 May - almost a week behind the multi-year average. The unpleasant weather in May increased the delay in the development of the vine by two weeks.

In June, the high summer temperatures provided an exceptional boost to the vegetation. Because of this rapid growth, the winemakers had a lot to do to trellis the grapevines on time. The delay in vegetation was thus completely made up for and the vines began the flowering phase around National Day in very good climate conditions

Stormy weather in July culminated in severe flooding on 14 July. Apart from a few flooded vineyards (two hectares) of the Sûre River, the Moselle vineyards were mostly spared by this natural disaster.

Although the summer sunshine was well below the multi-year average, temperatures were high enough to allow the vines to continue their development. The ripening phase of the grapes fell into a dry period with hot days and cool nights, ideal conditions for the ripening of the grapes and the development of aroma precursors.

2021 vintage - fruity, refreshing and abundant

At the start of the harvest, which began on 27 September 2021, the winemakers were rewarded with ripe, good quality grapes. After three poor harvests, the harvested grapes this year are "promising" and a "fruity and refreshing vintage with moderate alcohol contentcan be expected, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development. The first “Fiederwäissen” are already in the cellars and show the potential of the 2021 vintage.

Seasonal workers

Through the continued collaboration between the ADEM unemployment agency and the IVV, various Moselle winemakers hired 31 seasonal workers as grape pickers this year.

Minister Romain Schneider congratulated the winemakers for their excellent work: “I am happy to share this special moment at the peak of the harvest with our winemakers, and proud to know that despite a difficult year, the 2021 vintage promises to be excellent. The quality of our wines and crémants is recognised well beyond our borders and is part of our traditions and the DNA of our country. They are also served by the network of embassies abroad. Our winegrowers have shown a spirit of innovation and tenacity during this pandemic, and the wines and crémants of our wine route are highly appreciated by our consumers in search of local products from short circuits. I also thank ADEM for the excellent collaboration”.

The minister also underlined the good cooperation that exists between the IVV and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) in the form of research projects aimed at making wine production more sustainable and resilient to climate change.