SOURCE: Alsace Wine Bureau

November 14, 2007 10:08 ET

Patience Pays Off: The 2007 Alsace Harvest Is a Success!

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - November 14, 2007) - As the 2007 harvest came to a close and first vinifications recently began, Alsace winemakers are now confident that this latest vintage will be of high-quality, maintaining their region's proud tradition, even as fluctuating weather patterns over the course of the summer demanded an expert's touch in the vineyards.

After a very mild winter, exceptionally warm spring temperatures led to an early budburst and flowering around May 25, one month earlier than normal. Few seasons in the annals of the Alsace wine region have seen a flowering so precocious. Numerous showers and some hail in June brought complications and partial crop losses in some areas, but cooler, cloudy conditions in July and August returned the vintage to a more traditional pace, and Alsace's regulation board, the CRINAO (Comité Régional d'Experts des Vins d'Alsace) set the vintage's harvest dates as follows:

AOC Crémant d'Alsace:
Wednesday, August 22: Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir
Monday, August 27: Riesling, Chardonnay

AOC Alsace and AOC Alsace Grand Cru:
Wednesday, September 5: Chasselas, Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Pinot
Gris, Muscat, Pinot Noir
Monday, September 10: Riesling, Gewurztraminer

Late-Harvest Vendanges Tardives and Sélection de Grains Nobles:
Wednesday, September 19:  All varietals permitted (Riesling, Pinot Gris,
Gewurztraminer, Muscat)

The harvest in AOC Crémant d'Alsace was graced with ideal weather. As growers set to work in the earliest-ripening vineyards, Alsace enjoyed a wonderful month of September, with extraordinary anticyclonic conditions. Thanks to the pattern of hot days and cool nights with practically zero precipitation, the grapes ripened slowly to perfect maturity.

The wines from 2007 display nice freshness, fine aromatic expression and superb balance. The Pinot Noir has soft fruit notes and plenty of color. The Pinot Gris turned out particularly well, with an aromatic, honeyed character. The region's Riesling output -- a grape that takes longer to mature -- looks extremely promising. And excellent late autumn climatic conditions have permitted numerous late-harvest Vendanges Tardives and Sélections de Grains Nobles wines to be crafted.

While end-of-season stock levels are down slightly since last year, the addition of the 2007 crop, estimated at around 1.2 million hectoliters, ensures a total available volume fully capable of matching the current trend of rising Alsace wine sales. Alsace's 2007 vintage promises to live up to the high quality standard that's come to be expected of the region.

For more information on Alsace wines, please visit www.alsacewine.com.

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