The vintage is simply the year in which the fruit, usually one or more varieties of wine grapes, was grown and harvested.
To wine investors, wine collectors, or just the casual wine drinker, vintage information is important, because the climate and weather conditions to which the fruit is exposed on the vine - will ultimately affect quality.
If you know the year was awful in terms of growing conditions, you can probably pass on it. This includes vintage years in which there might have been a spring frost; a summer drought or heat wave; flooding or too much rain; an outbreak of diseased vines; or any other of the myriad causes that result in a "bad" year for wine growers.
However, there are exceptions to every rule as vintage charts
are merely averages. There may be some very outstanding and some terrible
wines included in almost any vintage year from any region whether it be in Bordeaux, Champagne country or the far-flung reaches of Chile to California.
In addition, vintage charts may be compiled by someone who has tastes and opinions which may not agree with yours. They are good guidelines, but not absolute guarantees of a good or bad wine drinking experience.
Just up ahead, find a sample vintage chart covering the years 2000 - 2005 with more in-depth wine vintage information around the Web:
= good year = very good year = excellent year
Around the Web, dig deeper into more information about wine vintages and weather reports with expert advice on what it all means and why it matters ...
More information about wine vintages around the Web:
The Wine Advocate's Vintage Guide - Robert Parker is the moving force behind the Wine Advocate and a great source of wine lore, information and reviews. This is the latest edition of his vintage chart with additional in-depth information only by subscription..
The Wine Spectator's Vintage Charts - One of the premiere magazines and Web sites on wines offering vintage charts for specific
wine types in certain regions. If you happen to be interested in the areas they cover, you're in luck. Otherwise, you can always subscribe to check the other charts, ratings and tasting notes for specific wines.
All About Vintages - Here's an informative article on the importance of vintages that provides links to weather forecasts for primary French growing areas in case you want to watch the factors that influence the outcomes.
Wine On Line - This Irish site has a simple explanation of the complexities that make vintage charts problematic and a very
simple chart of recent vintages from around the world.