“A different topic, please”, some shocked vintners commented when somebody rose the topic of the damages. Friedrich Wimmer from the Lenz Moser wine cellar, a person who is talking about the topic frankly, estimates the vintners that supply the wine cellar to have a damage of 30 percent. “Many of them have lost almost 100 percent, that’s hard.” The strongly export-orientated company will not have big sales problems. “The supply of our retailers is guaranteed”, Mr. Wimmer says. “But we cannot afford to be somehow offensive.”
A total of 10 percent of Austria’s vineyards have been damaged. According to the Austrian wine growing association, 2,000 hectares are affected partly, an estimated 4,000 hectares suffered a total loss. The cold snap came softly creeping. A few days before, it was possible to hike through the vineyards in summer clothes, and in the Burgenland, summery bathing temperatures could be registered. The area mainly affected by the frost, caused by temperatures of up to 5°C below zero, was the Pulkautal in the northern part of the Weinviertel with places like Haugsdorf, Mailberg and Seefeld-Kadolz. The main type of grape cultivated here is Grüner Veltliner, Austria’s favorite.
Josef Pfeil, president of the wine growing association, estimates the shortage in quantity at 30 to 50 million liters. He fears: “The frost damages will be noticeable as late as in the next vintage, too. The situation is further aggravated because so large a frost damage will lead to a bottleneck of seedlings in Austria’s vine nurseries.
Looking back, the Austrians can speak about a blessing in disguise. After 2009 and 2010, two vintages with a weak yield, we achieved an average yield again in 2011, though, after the frosts in May and hail, we couldn’t have expected that. But in the course of the year, nature compensated many things and even ensured an excellent quality. This is again possible in 2012, too. Maybe nature ensures a compensation, at least on this sector. (r.knoll)