You Know Vintage Wine Is Good But What Is Vintage?
Vintage is given a lot of importance, though many people are unaware of it and its importance. Vintage of wine is the year in which the grapes harvested. The vintage year is mentioned on the front of the wine bottle label (except in the case of non-vintage wine where year is not mentioned on the wine label). In the given label picture, the vintage year is 1996 which means that the grapes used to make this wine was grown and harvested in 1996.
Why should you care? Because wine is an agricultural product and it is heavily influenced by the weather conditions it grows in. Some years are blessed with good weather conditions leading to good grape produce and some years have bad weather conditions leading to poor quality and quantity of grape produce. Vintage is said to be good if it has seen balanced weather conditions and no or few signs of bad weather conditions. Hail storms, wet weather (which can cause fungal disease), fat berries or hot weather (which stops the growth of the grapevine) all cause the wine production to be of poor quality.
This is why sometimes two bottles of the same style of wine from the same producer are priced differently, depending on the year of the grape harvest. A wine from 2016 can be priced higher than a wine from 2013. Older isn’t always better! The vintages are always indicated on the wine label to keep track of it all and are usually a great way to compare wines and to purchase the right one.