The yield for the 2009 German grape harvest has finished some 10-15% less than last year and the past five-year average.

Trade figures released yesterday (5 November) showed that in some regions, such as the Rheingau, Mittelrhein or Nahe, the deficit is estimated to be more than 20%. The size of the crop in Franken was classed as "normal" and in the Pfalz it was down 6%.

The lower yields were attributed to uneven blossoming as well as the sunny, but dry, late summer weather.

However, winegrowers in all 13 German wine-growing regions are said to be "extremely pleased" with the quality of the 2009 crop.

"This year will go down in history as a truly great vintage," said Norbert Weber, president of the German Winegrowers' Association/Bonn. "Seldom have we been able to harvest such aromatic, healthy and fully ripe grapes as this year."

The German Wine Institute's managing director, Monika Reule, said she sees the 2009 vintage as a great opportunity for wine enthusiasts.

"The 2009 wines of all our wine regions offer superb quality and value for money" said Reule. "In addition to fabulous Rieslings and Pinots, many wine critics and enthusiasts will be surprised by the extraordinary quality of our red wines."