Germany's wine growers are forecasting a good vintage for this year's harvest, with volumes expected to be just below average.

Trade body the German Wine Institute (GWI) said yesterday (10 September) that this year's crop is "well-ripened and in a nearly optimal state of health thanks to outstanding weather in late summer".

In volume terms, the organisation is expecting the harvest to come in "somewhat below the long-term average" of 10m hectolitres, matching the volumes for the previous two harvests.

"Cool weather during blossoming in early June resulted in reduced fruit set, and thus, a lower yield," the GWI said. "Heavy winter frost effected lower yields in the easternmost wine regions of Saale-Unstrut and Sachsen."

While early ripening varieties, such as Müller-Thurgau, and grapes destined for sparkling wine production, are currently being picked, the remainder of the harvest will begin "in the weeks to come". Germany's most important grape variety, Riesling, is by nature a late ripener and will not be harvested before the end of September.