After a year of nearly perfect weather, wine growers in all 13 German wine-growing regions are extremely pleased with the quality of the 2009 crop.
"This year will go down in history as a truly great vintage," predicted Norbert Weber, president of the German Wine-growers' Association in Bonn.
"Seldom have we been able to harvest such aromatic, healthy and fully ripe grapes as in 2009."
Many estates were also able to harvest high-caliber Beeren and Trockenbeerenauslese (which translates as "selected harvest of dried berries"). A successful Eiswein harvest in December added the crowning touch.
According to the German Wine Institute in Mainz, the overall volume of the 2009 crop (ca. 9.1 million hl) was 8.6 percent lower than in 2008 and seven percent below the ten year average.
In some regions, such as the Rheingau, Mittelrhein or Ahr, the deficit was more than 20 percent, while in other regions, such as Franken, Württemberg and the Pfalz, the crop was only slightly smaller than usual (two to three percent).
The lower yields are attributed to uneven blossoming as well as the sunny, but dry, late summer weather.
Severe winter frost was an additional factor in the easternmost regions, Saale-Unstrut and Sachsen, where the 2009 crop was less than half of the year before.
Apart from individual estates' price adjustments, prices have remained relatively stable, despite the volume deficits. In fact, the size of the 2009 crop is in line with market conditions.
Given the preliminary estimates released by the International Organization of Vine and Wine in Paris (OIV), the size of the 2009 harvest in Europe as a whole - 159.8 million hl - is on a par with the year before.
As such, Germany has no reason to fear excessive market pressure from its European wine producing counterparts.
The German Wine Institute's managing director, Monika Reule, sees the 2009 vintage as a great opportunity for wine enthusiasts in terms of pleasure for price.
"The 2009 wines of all our wine regions offer superb quality, or value, for money. Many a wine of Spät-or Auslese quality potential will be sold as QbA wines (Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete) or "quality wine from a designated region") in order to meet market demands.
The white wines are exceptionally fruit-driven, full-bodied, and extremely well-balanced. Consumers can also look forward to powerful, deep-colored, and velvety red wines.
Monika Reule is certain that Germany's 2009 vintage will achieve international acclaim.
"In addition to fabulous Rieslings and Pinots, many a wine critic or enthusiast will be surprised by the extraordinary quality of our red wines.
"In foreign circles, it is still a relatively well-kept secret that about one third of Germany's vineyard area is planted with red wine varietals, and that Germany is the world's third largest producer of Pinot Noir," explained the wine institute's director.