VINTAGES and the Year of the Harvest

A lot is said in the press about the vintage of wines.

Do they matter?

Well… actually, yes!

The vintage is the year the grapes are harvested.


Should there be no indication of a vintage on a bottle, then the wine is of mixed vintages.


The quality of the wine depends largely on the weather in the year leading up to the harvest.

A winemaker can do what he likes in a middling or bad year but the wine will never stand up for long.


Vines need: –


  • a very cold preceding winter.
  • At least -8°C for 3 days in a row. This kills off the little bugs caught in the wood.
  • Maximum -18°C…
  • Colder weather totally kills the vines!
  • a relatively rainy spring with lots of patches of sun, wind, even hail. At this time of the year nothing has grown yet so hail is OK. It won’t harm the buds as there aren’t any yet.
  • Rain is needed to build up reserves in the soil for the warmer weather later on in the year.
  • Warm, sunny early summer. Rain is OK but not too much
  • Very warm and dry-ish mid-summer.
  • Very, very dry late summer
  • Very, very, very dry September and October (these are the harvesting months in Europe).


When the whole year has had perfect weather AND the harvest went singingly along without upset, the vintage will be fabulous!

In fact it doesn’t really matter how the good the winemaker is it will probably still be a fabulous year.

The very best recent years in which the weather followed the above were:










Check the weather conditions yourself online for these years.

Then check the prices of wines for these years and you will see what a difference it all makes.


Amanda’s Wines still has some of these wonderful vintages for sale.