What IS Vintage Wine?

Side image of a wood case with wine bottle inside

A vintage by any other name ...

by Erin Henderson

This article is inspired by Franca, a terrifically enthusiastic wine student currently enrolled in my Wines for Beginners course.

She stayed behind after class last week, asking me to clarify vintage. She wondered how old a bottle must be, before it moves into that time-honoured category.

You may also like: How Long Will Your Wine Last?

And she’s not alone in her confusion. A few years ago, a friend came over toting a nice bottle of wine. As she handed it to me, she proudly announced, “it’s vinntagggge.”

As you might be in the spirit of giving bottles this season, and quite possibly labouring under the same uncertainty, I would explain.

It's just the year the grapes were picked. 

Vintage, in wine speak, simply means the year that’s stamped on the label. The year that the grapes were picked. That year could be 2022 for your favourite Pinot Grigio, 2003 for that special bottle you have squirreled away in the cellar, or 2016 for that Cab you ordered last night at your company dinner party.

It can get confusing because when we talk about vintage clothing, cars, or watches, it generally refers to an item that has a specific amount of age (watches are vintage at 20-25 years old; cars specifically manufactured between 1919-1930, I found out while writing this.)

But with wine, vintage only refers to the year the grapes were picked, which is the date that appears on the label – regardless of when that bottle gets to store shelves.

Your next read: 11 Popular Wine Terms to Make You Sound Like an Expert

Hear From Real People!

I wanted to thank you again for last night. Everyone had a great time, and I received a lot of compliments, on your behalf. You struck a great balance between being informational and entertaining. 10 out of 10.
Everybody had a ton of fun and we very much see this structure as a template we can use with clients and friends in the future.
Thank you very much for the amazing wine tasting. We all had the most wonderful time. The wines were excellent and your presentation was very entertaining and informative.
I had the pleasure of attending the Oceania Cruise event where you conducted a wine pairing. I have to say that your wine and food pairing made a typically ho hum travel information night, spectacular! I have never done a wine pairing. I was amazed at how food interacted with the wines.
The Wine Sisters are professional and flexible to attend to client needs. They’re able to provide 'one stop shop for events.
Bravo! You were awesome and I loved the presentation, explanation and selection of wines! I just had to reach out and thank you for a wonderful evening. You two are fabulous – great energy and you really like what you do.  You make tasting wine fun!
[They] quickly engaged our group with our wine themed engagement party. Guests were lined up all evening for the experience. [They] very willing to involve guests in tasting discussion. We are all a little more wine savvy - thank you The Wine Sisters
Wow, Emily was absolutely fantastic! She was patient, explained the wines well, and was a delight to work with.

Thank you so much for everything I will definitely use your services again.
 
The unique programs and the tour we did with you was a huge success. Guests really enjoyed the afternoon!
Thank you very much for your services. Everyone had a fantastic time and loved everything! Thank you again for a successful event and making me look oh so good.

Instagram Feed

Follow on Instagram

For support issues or any questions, please email us at drinkwithus@thewinesisters.com

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to be the first to know about our wine recommendations, cocktail recipes, and great tips for throwing fabulous parties.