What is ‘Vintage’?

A lot of wines have a published vintage on them, be it 2016 or another year. But what exactly is it about and why does it matter?

Put simply vintage is the year when the grapes were picked. Generally this is displayed on the bottle, for example “Merlot 2016”. If there’s not a vintage on the wine it’s generally a blend of different years to try and keep the flavour constant throughout the bottles. Champagne is an example of this and will often have N.V. on the label meaning Non-Vintage.

So why do we care what vintage a wine is? The biggest factor that affects the grapes growing over a year is the weather. Bad weather often means the grape won’t fully ripen, not be as nice in wine. Lots of sun though can damage grapes causing them to become like raisins. So the weather is incredibly important!

Due to different regions having different grapes, what is a good vintage in one region may not be the same in a different one. You are able to read up online on vintage tables about what are good vintages for different regions so it’s always worth a check to see stuff!

Fun fact: If champagne has a vintage on it then it’s a very special one as it’s only the very unique bottles with a story (like surviving a flood) that get a vintage year!

Till tomorrow!