The vegetation cycle was a bit later than normal, with flowering only arriving in mid-June. There was, however, plentiful precipitation, giving our vineyards an ideal supply of water — but also demanding a huge amount of manual canopy work. Our summer of hard labor between the vines ultimately laid the groundwork for a very strong vintage. Veraison fell somewhat later than in past years, albeit with the major benefit of cooler temperatures. We started the initial harvest in mid-September, with the main harvest not coming until early October and interrupted repeatedly by minor bouts of rain. In a normal year Botrytis would have been a strong concern, but the very cool temperatures and our slate soils’ capacity for transporting moisture away rapidly thwarted any potential infestation. In the end we were almost surprised at just how fantastic, crisp and perfectly ripe the grapes were at harvest. We left ourselves — and the grapes — time to do things right, and our courage was rewarded with perfectly ripe and spicy fruit. In late October we picked the Riesling, bringing the harvest to a close. We are highly satisfied with the results so far and expect this to be a very fine vintage, however crazy the year itself might have been. When we look back, we’ll remember the completion of a generations-long project in Ried Dr. Wunsch and an absolutely classic Styrian vintage that is equal parts ripe and cool. As with every year, a selective hand harvest is the essential final step to success, as we believe no machine in the world can replace well-trained hands. The challenging years are the ones that demonstrate most clearly: hand work is the basis for our quality.