BERLIN, July 30 (Xinhua) -- This year's harvest of grapes for wine production in Germany will commence earlier in the season than ever before, the German Wine Institute announced on Monday.
The first vineyard in Loerzweiler will begin harvesting on August 6th, breaking a recent record set in 2014 in a further sign of the increasingly visible effects of climate change Europe.
"This year we are starting extremely early," German Wine Institute spokesperson Ernst Buescher said.
Buescher noted that the current developmental stage of vines was around 3 weeks ahead of its 30-year-average. Long-term measurements in the Rheingau wine-growing region of Germany show an accelerating and unbroken trend towards hotter average temperatures since 1988.
For some vintners, the hot and long summer this year gives them a competitive advantage against producers from countries like Italy where harvests usually begin earlier than in Germany.
However, the scarcity of rain experienced during the past months is highly problematic for the German agricultural sector as a whole. Grain farmers have publicly warned that many of them face the prospect of bankruptcy due an anticipated fall in crop yields.
Commenting on the ongoing heat wave which has gripped Germany and much of Europe, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) highlighted that temperatures which were still considered unusual for July could become normality in Europe within the coming decades.
"In Germany, average temperatures have already risen by 1.4 degrees since the industrial revolution", PIK researcher Fred Hattermann told press. Higher average temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions were hereby likely to lead to more extreme heatwaves in the future.