What is Vintage Wine?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007 at 12:00 am

wine vintageThe word "vintage" is often associated with old, outmoded, and classic things like a vintage car, a vintage guitar or a vintage record. Any object attached to the word connotes style, elegance, maturity, excellence, and an enduring appeal. However, when the word is applied to wines, it carries a totally different meaning.

What is wine vintage?

The word vintage in wine making refers to the harvesting and processing of grapes from a vineyard during a season. In other words, a vintage wine is made from grapes that were grown in a single specified year. Other wine makers use the word to refer to their best years. It is often incorrect to assume that a vintage wine is an old one or is it a high quality product.

How wine vintage work?

Naturally the opposite of a vintage wine are those produced from blending produce of two or more years. This in fact is a much common practice among wine makers since they can carefully control the factors in their wine making process allowing them to produce a more consistent wine every time.

Even vintage wines should ideally be made from a single year grape produce, wine producing countries now are already allowing wine makers to include in the label the word vintage even if the wine was not made entirely from a harvest of a single year. These countries just set required ratios, for instance Chile and South Africa require wine makers to have 75 percent same-year content for vintage-dated wine.

Meanwhile, its 85 percent for wines that came from Australia, New Zealand, and member states of the European Union. The US also follows the 85 percent requirement for non AVA designation. Those that have AVA designations, however, are required to have 95 percent same-year content.

Classifying the wine as vintage is quite important and should be taken into consideration when buying a wine bottle from your favorite store. Since wines are ever changing, it is vital that you observe the year of wine you are buying. Natural and human factors affect the quality of the wine which includes the aroma and tastes.

What influence wine vintage?

The kind of weather influences the kind of vintages. Rough weather could affect the developments of the grapes. The quantity, quality, ripeness and flavor of the fruit and thus the vintage wine can be altered by a simple change of weather conditions.

Also, the place where the grapes are grown also affects the vineyard produce. If a region, for example, experiences a generally bad year for crop production, then the resulting vintage wine would also turn out to be a dismay. This is where non-vintage wines show their advantage. Wine makers can use different wines from different wine production year to make the final product more consistent.

However, some experts and critiques to argue that the use of vintage in recent years have been too exaggerated and were used only to command much higher prices from products.

In wine labels, the prefix "vin" is often used by European countries for the word "vintage. "