Luxembourgh Times

Luxembourg wine sales recover to pre-Covid levels

Residents drank 5.7 million litres of local wine and crémant last year, enough to fill more than two Olympic-sized swimming pools

Luxembourg's famous wine growing region, the Moselle

Luxembourg's famous wine growing region, the Moselle © Photo credit: Robert Mehlen

Kathryn Oglesby

Residents in the Grand Duchy drank enough local wine and crémant to fill more than two Olympic-sized swimming pools in 2021, as sales of the Luxembourg-produced alcohol returned to levels not seen since before the pandemic.

Consumers bought 3.2 million bottles of crémant last year, the highest numbers since the outbreak of Covid-19 two years ago, the Agriculture Ministry said on Wednesday. The national consumption of the sparkling wine in 2021, and other local wines, was 5.7 million litres, according to the statement from the ministry.

Healthy sales had been expected, with winemakers predicting last year that the harvest would turn out well despite a summer that was the second-wettest since the record started in 1854 and caused devastating floods in the region.

The influx of seasonal workers, made easier by more relaxed Covid-19 travel restrictions, as well as the use of rapid antigen tests for winemakers and grape pickers, contributed to the good harvest in 2021, the Agriculture Ministry said.

Luxembourg, which has been growing wine since Roman times, is now home to some 340 wineries, which produce up to 12 million litres of wine each year, mostly along the river Moselle. Some of the most common grapes are Rivaner, Auxerrois, Elbling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling.

The steady increase in summer temperatures is giving Luxembourg vineyards options to grow grapes normally associated with prestigious Bordeaux wines - but the shift carries the risk of confusing the Moselle Valley industry's brand.

Up until 20 or 30 years ago, lower temperatures limited the types of locally grown grapes that would ripen properly and meant the region could produce fewer types of wine. This is largely no longer a problem, said Serge Fischer, head of the viticulture department at the Institut Viti-Vinicole in Remich. Now, early-ripening grape varieties give vineyards the option to produce Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon wines, he told Luxemburger Wort in an interview last year.