Vintage by Satyrs and Maenads. Ancient Greek Attic black-figure cup, end of 6th century BC. Cabinet des médailles de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France
The Vintagers, after a miniature of the "Dialogues de Saint Gregoire" (thirteenth century)—manuscript of the Royal Library of Belgium

Vintage, in winemaking, is the process of picking grapes and creating the finished product—wine (see Harvest (wine)). A vintage wine is one made from grapes that were all, or primarily, grown and harvested in a single specified year. In certain wines, it can denote quality, as in Port wine, where Port houses make and declare vintage Port in their best years. From this tradition, a common, though not strictly correct, usage applies the term to any wine that is perceived to be particularly old or of a particularly high quality.

Most countries allow a vintage wine to include a portion of wine that is not from the year denoted on the label. In Chile and South Africa, the requirement is 75% same-year content for vintage-dated wine.[1][2] In Australia, New Zealand, and the member states of the European Union, the requirement is 85%.[3][4][5] In the United States, the requirement is 85%, unless the wine is designated with an AVA, (e.g., Napa Valley), in which case it is 95%. Technically, the 85% rule in the United States applies equally to imports, but there are difficulties in enforcing the regulation.[6]

The opposite of a vintage wine is a nonvintage wine (often seen on a wine list as NV), which is usually a blend from the produce of two or more years. This is a common practice for winemakers seeking a consistent style of wine, year on year.

  1. ^ Official Gazette of the Republic of Chile/ Viñas De Chile: Decree 464, Article 5
  2. ^ Wines of South Africa: labeling requirements (South Africa) paragraph 14; Cape Wine and Spirits Institute
  3. ^ Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Regulations 1981, Statutory Rules 1981 No. 156
  4. ^ ANZFA Standard P5 and P6
  5. ^ EU Regulation: 1493/99, Annex VIII, E.7
  6. ^ 27 CFR Ch.1 § 4.27

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