Wine Word of the Week: Vintage

By Kori ~ August 21st, 2008.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is vintage.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
The vintage year is the year in which a wine was produced and the characteristics of that year. … In the southern hemisphere, a vintage-dated wine invariably carries the year in which the grapes were picked, even though much of the vine growth cycle was actually in the previous year. In the northern hemisphere, vintage-dated wines carry the year in which both the vine growth occurred and the grapes were picked….

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Vintage is the year printed on a wine bottle’s label and indicates the year in which the grapes were picked. It is important to note a wine’s vintage since the quality of wines, even from the same producer, can vary year to year (i.e. a 2005 XYZ Merlot is a different wine than a 2006 XYZ Merlot). A wine that does not list a vintage on the label is considered non-vintage and is a blend of grapes from different years.

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