Winegrowers regain hope after frost and crop failure

"How much storage capacity we have? Here in repperndorf around 33 million liters. But we don't need them." christian baumann is cellar master at the franken winegrowers' association (GWF) in repperndorf. And he also explains why such large storage capacities are no longer needed. "Earlier", according to the 49-year-old, "we used to store two and a half harvests in the cellar. Today, the female wine of the last vintage is usually sold straight away."

times have changed at GWF. Previously known more for large quantities than for quality, frankens grobte winzergenossenschaft now focuses more on class than on quantity. Many a storage tank remains empty. Especially when, as in 2011, the grapevines freeze and the harvest is small. It is clear that such whims of nature spoil the balance sheet of a cooperative to which 1600 winegrowers belong. However, the vast majority of them run their wineries as a sideline or as a hobby.

Sales dropped by five percent, explained michael schweinberger, managing director of the company, at the annual press conference on tuesday. Contracts with discounters had to be canceled. There was simply no wine. The members of the cooperative are of course also aware of this when it comes to grape money.

Normal harvest developments
But: the harvest of the year 2012 promises a normal development again. Although planned investments had to be frozen at first, the general mood is now positive again, says schweinberger. Not only with him, but of course with the cellar master as well. Christian baumeister will be making his rounds of member vintners again and again in the coming weeks. Looks around in the vineyard, advises on cultivation and care. This is important for the future quality, he explains.

Quality is defined differently at GWF. It is based on what the customer wants. There are, for example, for the young audience the young francs, rather fruity fresh wines, as well as pramierte spatlesen in the higher-priced sector.

As far as prices are concerned, the frankenweine are the best in the country anyway. The average price for a 0.75-liter bottle is 3.46 euros. Baden wine, on the other hand, costs an average of only 2.62 euros. The franconians want to play in the league even when the harvests become coarser again. This requires quality. This is exactly what the cellarers in repperndorf are working on. Christian baumann points to a whole row of barrique barrels. "Here ripens a regent, vintage 2008" he remarks in passing. And takes a sample, only to find out dryly: "still needs." "because our wine needs a clear profile" the explanation is provided immediately. And it is the cellar master who is responsible for the profile.

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