Wine Word of the Week: Non-vintage

By Kori ~ February 15th, 2011.

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

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Non-vintage, often abbreviated to NV, is a blended wine, particularly champagne or sparkling wine, which may contain the produce of several different vintages, although in champagne-making practice it is usually substantially based on the most recent vintage, to which some additional ingredients from older years, often called ‘reserve wines’, may be added.

Within the European Union, basic table wine may not be sold with a vintage year on it and is in practice often a blend made throughout the year so that the first blend of the winter season, typically, may contain a mixture of wine from both the new and last year’s vintages.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Non-vintage refers to a blended wine that is produced from grapes grown in two or more different years. This practice is common in sparkling wine production in order to achieve a house style that is consistent from year to year.

Filed under: Wine Word of the Week

Reader's Comments

  1. Stevie | February 15th, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I had no idea that basic table wine was restricted to the NV status in the EU! Thanks for sharing that. I have only seen this designation on bottles of champagne. Do you think that it is actually common for still wine? And what about the “New World?” Here we often are blithely free of rules that restrict our practices. Is there relevance for the term here?

  2. Kori | February 19th, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I wouldn’t say that the NV designation is common on still wine in the New World, but it does happen. Even here in the U.S., a wine must be 95% from the year listed to carry a vintage date. It is certainly most common on sparkling wines, though. Cheers!