Germany sees biggest wine harvest since '99 after hot summer

In this Oct. 1, 2018 photo grapes lie on a trailer on bottom of the Calmont vineyard near Bremm, Germany. The slope is considered to be among the steepest in Europe, with inclines of up to 70 degrees. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

BERLIN — An industry group says German winemakers are on track for their biggest grape harvest in nearly 20 years after a long, hot summer that shriveled many other farmers' crops.

The German Wine Institute said Thursday that, with the harvest 95 percent complete, it expects winegrowers to produce 1.07 billion liters (280 million gallons) of wine must, the pressed grape juice that is one of the first steps in winemaking.

That's 23 percent above the last decade's average and the biggest harvest since 1999.

The institute says it expects good-quality wines to emerge from the hot summer, with fruity whites and full-bodied reds in prospect.

For farmers who don't tend sun-loving vines, it has been a difficult year. The German government is compensating thousands of farmers whose harvests have suffered.

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