Germany's 2022 vintage

Crowds of tasters at the annual VDP tasting

At the Mainzer Weinbörse, Paula confronts the mystery of the upside-down vintage.

The best mystery novels, viewed in retrospect, make improbable events seem not only sensible, but inevitable. It’s as good a description as any for my visit to this year’s Mainzer Weinbörse, the annual tasting of wines from the VDP (an elite German wine producers’ association) that offers the first significant glimpse into the new wine vintage.

Until the first bottles began appearing a few months ago, I had assumed 2022 – the sunniest summer since records have been kept – would result in yet another lush vintage in the...