Year Dates on Wine Bottles

The vintage of a wine is the date the grapes for that wine were picked. That is, say vines are making grapes in September 2007. The vineyard manager picks those grapes in September 2007. The wine made from those grapes is now a 2007 wine.

If the wine is blended from grapes from many years for some reason, they can legally call it a "2007 wine" if X% of the grapes are from that year. The rules and regulations for what that percentage is vary from place to place. So for example in some locations if 90% of the grapes were picked in September 2007 they can call that wine a 2007 vintage even if the other 10% of the grapes are from 2006.

Some wines are blends of many years. Ports for example can be a vintage port where all the grapes were picked in one year. They can also be a blend of many many years. If it's a many-year blend they will not have one year on the label.

There are other reasons that a wine bottle will not have a year on its label. According to the very bizarre rules of the US government, if a winery makes a wine NOT of grapes they are NOT allowed to put the year on the label!! So if they make a peach wine and 100% of the peaches are harvested in September 2008 they can't say that on the bottle! This baffles me completely. Why would you deliberately want to hide information from consumers?

The vintage shown on a bottle has NOTHING to do with when you should drink it, or when it was bottled. It solely is showing you when the grapes were picked off their vines. You have to do research to figure out when it was bottled, or when you should probably drink it.

Vintage Charts

Wine Glossary Main Listing
Y Glossary Words

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.