Vintage Variation: What Does It Mean for My Wine?

wine pouring cropDo you hear people talk about “good vintages” and wonder what it means? When a vineyard has a particularly favorable growing season, wine produced and bottled that year becomes known as a “good vintage.” That might mean it comes highly recommended, or with a higher price tag based on popularity.

A less favorable year does not mean a bad wine. Winemakers will work around most any curveball that nature throws their way and produce wine to be proud of.

You know you’ll have a different experience picking out fresh produce in August than you will in December. We understand that the shopping experience depends upon what’s in season. And even when you know fresh corn is in season, last year’s crop may have been the best you ever had, where this year’s isn’t quite as memorable.

This has to do with many external growing factors, from the soil to the rainfall, and humidity to frost and sun exposure. We can thank Mother Nature for the changes between one summer’s strawberries and the next.

The same is true for grapes. Changes in grapes mean changes in wine from year to year. This is known as vintage variation. Cooler growing regions with more volatile weather patterns, like Southern New England, are known to have greater variation between vintages.

At Greenvale Vineyards we’re not immune to vintage variation. The unpredictable Southern New England weather can significantly affect our wine. Because the vinifera grapes grown here are more complicated to grow than other varieties and the weather variation has a big affect on the flavors.

For example, if an area experiences heavy rainfall toward the end of a growing season, dilution may prevent the grapes from having as much flavor. Excessive heat can cause grapes to over-ripen, which causes them to lose acidity and affects the wine.

Rest assured, when you taste Greenvale wine you won’t have to worry about vintage variation. It’s interesting to be aware of and makes perfect sense given that unpredictable New England weather we’re all familiar with. But year after year, we continue to produce wine with consistent taste profiles. Our winemaker is skilled at balancing the flavor profiles and delivering the final product you know and love.

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