What Does Vintage Wine Mean?

Have you ever wondered what somebody’s saying when they utter the phrase ‘it’s a good vintage?’ If so, stay right here as the Ideal Wine Company asks; what does vintage wine mean?

A question the Ideal Wine Company always gets asked

The Ideal Wine Company is a firm which strives to supply you with stellar fine wines from wine making regions throughout the world at prices you’re destined to like. We’re experts when it comes to the luxury wine industry.

As experts there are several questions every new comer to the world of fine wine asks us when we first meet them. One of them is nearly always ‘what does vintage mean?’ It’s a fair question, the word has been bandied around the wine making world so much at this point that it’s practically part of the vernacular. We use it quite a bit ourselves.

The definition of vintage and non-vintage wine

As such people seem to think that it refers exclusively to a fine wine. A wine of quality. This isn’t the case. The word vintage simply refers to the year the grapes used for a particular bottle of wine were harvested. For example the Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1989 that you can get from the Ideal Wine Company is a 1989 vintage because it’s comprised of grapes that were harvested in the year 1989.

In contrast a non-vintage wine is exactly that. More specifically, it’s a wine that’s comprised of a blend of various vintage wines. Interestingly some wines in Europe are forced to label their bottles as ‘non-vintage’ because the grapes they use aren’t authorised for the region or country in question. Think Champagne and the rules around its production and you’ll understand what we mean.

A lot of champagnes aren’t vintages

Speaking of champagne, you’ll be interested to note that a lot of champagnes aren’t vintages. They’re in fact a blend of vintages, like non-vintage wine.

This allows champagne houses to uphold a consistent style from year-to-year, no matter what the weather does to their crop. Yet there are some champagnes, higher classes of champagnes, which continue to operate as vintages. The Dom Perignon Brut 1993 and the Louis Roederer Cristal, both available from the Ideal Wine Company, are examples of vintage champagne.

Some of the best wines are vintage

Therefore there’s no great secret behind the word ‘vintage.’ It just refers to the year that the grapes that compose bottle of wine were produced in. Yet our experience has shown us that some of the best wines, those destined to set your taste buds alight, are vintage wines.