Wines: The Purpose of “Vintage” Label

Wine, especially the good, old one, usually described as the liquid of life, love and passion has been the muse of many renowned authors over the centuries. The great British essayist and critic of the 17th century, Logan Pearsall Smith, in one of his writings said: ‘Happiness is a wine of the rarest vintage and seems insipid for a vulgar taste‘.

Vintage‘. We have heard this word so many times (in the combination with the word ‘wine’), but the paramount question is: ‘What does it really mean?’ When it comes to wine, vintage refers to finest, highest quality, that is for sure. But, that is not all. ‘Vintage’ also has a special indication in terms of time (year). And again, the misconception has been between whether it indicates the year the grapes were picked, the year grapes were bottled, or maybe the year when bottles were released to the market?


As a true wine lover, let me enlighten you – ‘vintage’ refers to the year the grapes were harvested. In fact, the year that is printed on the label of world-renowned bottles of wine, for example ‘2007’ indicates the vintage year. France, Canada and the USA, being world’s largest and best wine regions, have made the law regarding vintage labeling for their domestic wines. According to this law, wine has to be made of minimum 95% of that year’s grapes to be labeled ‘vintage’. Let’s put this in simple small words. If you own a bottle of Bordeaux with no vintage date on the label, it means that the wine has been made from grapes harvested in different years.

The ‘vintage’ feature is indeed an important consideration when making the wine selection. The truth is, this special feature is mostly taken into account by hard core wine drinkers who can afford buying more expensive wines, like for example, a bottle of Cabernet Vintage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. All these outright velvety, rich and silky wines are bottled and cellared for decades, until the winemaker determines when the wine has matured to its potential. A bottle of higher-end, delicate Cabernet Vintage is rich in tannins and high acidity that with years matures and mellows, giving the Cabernet Vintage wine its unique flavour, aroma and texture.

To truly understand the meaning of a vintage taste and flavour, buy both expensive and inexpensive wine and carry out a simple experiment by yourself. You will be stunned!