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Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
A well-known financial writer, in a major consumer-oriented financial magazine, suggested that September is a good month to buy wine at good prices inasmuch as this is harvest time. The writer seems to ignore the fact that grapes harvested in September do not become bottled wines on store shelves for several months (at the very least) or several years (at the most) later. Your thoughts, please. Is there any seasonal fluctuation in wine pricing?
—John F., Poinciana, Fla.
While it’s typically a good idea to buy goods when they are in season, you’re correct that (outside of Beaujolais Nouveau) it takes months and years from the time wine is harvested until it hits the market.
That said, there’s a lot of movement in a typical winery just before harvest. In anticipation of the (literally) tons of grapes that are about to come through their doors, there’s often a flurry to make space, and that can mean bottling wines that have been stored in barrels and tanks—valuable real estate as the impending crush looms. So, suddenly there’s more wine in the marketplace, and I imagine, in some cases, more of an incentive to clear out older vintages.
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