Millésimes et Vin : tous les vins ne sont pas millésimés !

Vintages and Wine: not all wines are vintage!

Perhaps you have already noticed, at your wine merchant or in the wine section of your supermarket, that some wine bottle labels mention a year, and others do not. This date represents the vintage. And if it is not present on all the bottles, it is precisely because a wine is not necessarily vintage. We tell you more about the vintage of the wines .

What is a vintage wine?

Generally, in the world of wine, we notice that certain years are better than others, and produce wines of superior quality . The wines produced during these prolific years are therefore distinguished by what we call the vintage.

Good to know: the vintage refers to the year during which the grapes were grown and harvested, before being transformed into wine. It is therefore not possible to mention a vintage for wines made from a mixture of grape varieties harvested over several years.

Almost always, the quality of wines from the same vineyard, with the same winemaking techniques and the same grape varieties, essentially depends on climatic conditions . Indeed, the grapes then benefit from optimal weather conditions to fully flourish and influence the quality of the wine.

Vintages and wine are closely linked, but not all wines bear the indication of a vintage. Indeed, region by region, certain entire cellars contain beautiful bottles of exceptional quality, coming from Burgundy appellations or other prestigious terroirs. These good bottles can come from vintage years, but also from difficult or consecutive years.

The scorching years influence the quality of vintage bottles. Thus, vintage whites vary in fruity flavors depending on weather conditions. The small quantity of certain vintages makes them an excellent choice for demanding enthusiasts, benefiting from perfect storage conditions in a beautiful cellar.

Despite the exception of exceptional wines, not all wines are vintage. The wine selection depends on the wine styles and types of wine produced by the wineries, spread across the rows of vines and hectares of vines of the best vineyards.

Wine production, with its production methods and quality of the grapes, contributes to the heritage of designations of origin and regional designations, witnesses of the historic French vineyard.

Each exceptional vintage is a memorable vintage, an ideal vintage that guides wine lovers through the complex phenomenon of wine hierarchy. Ultimately, the vintage guide offers an overview of the international reputation of French wines, the fruit of the work of passionate winemakers and their unique know-how, from the vineyard to bottling.

Great vintages therefore stand out for the quality of the wines, and wines from vintage great wines are also much more expensive than wines without a vintage.

What are the best vintages of wines?

Whether choosing red wines, white wines, or even rosé wines, knowing the classification of vintages can be of great help. Indeed, the vintage of a wine will give you an interesting indication of the quality of the wine, but it will also have a direct influence on the price of the bottle of wine.

Depending on the vintage, we will have a variable wine profile, with greater aromatic complexity, a prettier color and more varied aromas.

Finally, to know the excellent vintages , wine lovers often rely on the weather conditions of recent years. Please note that great vintages are not the same for all wine-growing regions, because the climate is not always the same, and does not always act in the same way depending on the grape variety.

Wine vintages are classified according to the year, or according to the wine-growing region (Rhône Valley, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, etc.). We then speak of a small vintage, an average vintage, a good vintage, a great vintage and an exceptional vintage . You can easily find the vintage table online, or from your wine merchant.

Why are some wines not vintage?

A vintage wine is therefore a wine of superior quality, whose grape berries have taken advantage of ideal climatic conditions to stand out. But many bottles of wine do not have a vintage , and this can be explained in several ways.

  • The harvest year was bad , the vintages were not very good, and the winegrowers preferred to mix them with the vintage from another harvest, to try to find a good balance;
  • The winemaker prefers to produce blended wines , in order to ensure more balanced vintages from one year to the next, with consistent quality, and to ensure not to lose everything in years of bad harvests;
  • Some wines do not have the right to be vintage , as is the case with table wine;
  • The winemaker can decide not to mention the vintage of his wine, because this mention is not at all obligatory . Most of the time, this is to avoid having to reprint bottle labels every year, but also to avoid a big drop in sales during bad years.

Vintage wine or not: the advantages of each

Mentioning the vintage of a wine is not obligatory, and wine producers are free to add it to their wine labels or not. In both cases, this can have advantages.

Not vintageing a wine offers greater flexibility , particularly in blending. This provides the winemaker with more stable vintages, with consistency from year to year. Furthermore, this makes it possible to better manage grape stocks, and to be able to compensate for bad years with good years. Finally, a non-vintage wine can be sold at a fixed price , regardless of its quality.

As for vintage wines , the advantages are also numerous. Initially, an excellent vintage is always sold at a higher price, which allows it to be very profitable during the best years. Moreover, excellent vintages are widely promoted on the wine market, increasing sales, but also the reputation of the producer . Finally, a vintage makes it possible to reinforce the singularity of a vintage , while increasing the aging potential of the wine.

Vintage wine or not , this choice is crucial for the winemaker, but it can also be interesting for the consumer. At Château de Berne, each wine displays its vintage, in order to ensure the beautiful quality and remarkable specificity of each vintage.


Our selection of wines

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Rosé Wine 2023 AOP Côtes de ProvenceGrande Récolte
CHF 79
Box of 6 bottles - 75 cl
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Sale -34%
Rosé 2022 AOP Côtes de ProvenceGrande Récolte
Regular price CHF 79Sale priceCHF 52
Cardboard of 6 bottles - 75 cl
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Rosé 2021 AOP Côtes de ProvenceGrande Récolte
CHF 89.70
Cardboard of 6 bottles - 75 cl
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White 2017 AOP Côtes de ProvenceChâteau de Berne Grande Cuvée
CHF 120
Cardboard of 6 bottles - 75 cl
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