The object-based method SAL (Structure, Amplitude and Location) was adapted for investigating the errors of forecasts of extreme 10‑m wind gusts associated with winter storms in Germany. It has been applied to a statistically downscaled version of the 51 member ECMWF (European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts) operational ensemble forecast. The horizontal resolution of both downscaled data and of the German weather service's operational analysis data used for verification is 7 km. Forecast errors are subdivided in terms of storm intensity, location and extent. After identifying a set of storm events, objects of moderate and intense 10‑m wind gusts were identified with a local percentile-based threshold (90th percentile for moderate and 98th percentile for intense gust objects). Depending on the intensity of the storm, the gust objects differ in terms of size, shape and intensity. The characteristics of the ensemble forecasts of 10‑m wind gusts can basically be assessed in two different ways. Individual forecast members can be evaluated with respect to the location, intensity and extent of the gust field, and then address the ensemble characteristics by the score distributions. Alternatively, the gust fields' location, intensity and extent can be evaluated by directly using the ensemble mean forecast instead of the individual members. The results of the identified set of storms clearly indicate a high case-to-case variability in the predictability of 10‑m wind gusts objects, particularly when focusing on the structure of intense wind gust objects. It is found, that the gust fields' location and overall intensity can be better estimated from the ensemble mean forecast, compared to the individual forecast members. From a forecaster's perspective this means, that a storms' location and intensity can be well estimated by considering the ensemble mean wind forecasts. Considering the structure of the gust objects, results are different. While for longer lead times, there also seems to be a benefit from applying ensemble averaging, at short lead times the ensemble mean forecast performs equally or worse than most of the individual forecast members. The amplitude error is often the smallest component of the three error types. The findings are particularly relevant when deriving warning information, by giving guidance to forecasters when interpreting ensemble forecasts for severe storms.