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Austria braced for small but high quality harvest

The Austrian Winegrower’s Association has predicted an excellent harvest even if quantities will be less than average.

Frost and hail caused millions of euros worth of damage earlier in the year and the AWA’s president, Josef Pleil, stated that the final yield would be between 2 and 2.2 million hectolitres below average.

However, the quality of the remaining fruit and vegetation remains high, so hopes for a good harvest appear well founded.

Pleil said: “Where there was no damage by frost or hail, a grape harvest of exceptional quality can be counted on.

“The rapid bud break, the dry conditions in spring – and finally enough rain – and then the summer heat all have been responsible for the well-advanced vegetation, especially compared with the harvests of previous years, even the early harvest of 2011.

“Because of the earlier ripening of the grapes, it is anticipated that the harvest will begin very early this year in the first week of September.”

Late frosts in May caused around €14m worth of damage to around 6,000ha – especially in Burgenland, Niederösterreich and the northern Weinviertal.

Of those, at least 4,000ha were completely destroyed. Another €8m worth of damage was wrought by hail storms in May and July in Niederösterreich, Steiermark, Weinviertal and Mittelburgenland

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