ask dr. vinny

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,

Does every country use the vintage year as the year of harvest? Or do some use the year of bottling the wine?

—Drago B., Slovenia

Dear Drago,

When there is a date on a bottle of wine, it is universally a vintage date, referring to the year the grapes were picked.

However, in some unusual cases, it can refer to both. Some wines, such as Beaujolais Nouveau, are produced and bottled quickly and made available for sale just weeks after the grapes are picked. And because wines from the Southern Hemisphere are typically picked around March, it’s not unusual to see some wines—like, say, New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs—available in the market later that same year.

If a wine doesn’t have a vintage year on it at all, it’s called “non-vintage,” or NV. There are some terrific NV wines, like many Ports and sparkling wines, but there are also some mass-produced wines that don’t carry a vintage date.

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories