Pacific Rim
July 14, 2020 | wine | Pacific Rim

Does Wine Vintage Matter?

Wine vintage points to the year the ingredients in the bottle were grown. Does it matter? Are some years really better than others? Weather and environment conditions change somewhat from year to year. That impacts the grapes, but how much? And does it impact Van Duzer Corridor wine grown in Oregon's Coast Range?

Pinot grapes growing in a vineyard in the Van Duzer corridor of Oregon

Wine Vintage Is Overblown

Wine vintage tends not to matter nearly as much as many would pretend. In truth, a responsible vineyard should be making adjustments to ensure that each year's harvest produces a high-quality wine. Vintages will only matter when a vineyard can't keep up with changing weather patterns. That either means the vineyard isn't doing its job well, or that the environment is wildly unpredictable from year to year.

Science & Nature

Van Duzer Corridor wine should be exceptionally consistent in quality from one vintage to the next because they fulfill both these requirements. The vineyards and wine making processes include an incredible range of science and environmental data. This allows them to grow and harvest with remarkable precision to ensure a superb wine from any year.

Couple this with a region that delivers similar climate from one year to the next and there isn't a ton of unpredictability introduced into the equation. While it's true the Willamette Valley can go from sun to rain in the blink of an eye, it's not those daily shifts that matter. The weather, amount of sun and rain, and the coastal winds (that helps thicken the grape skins) are all fairly consistent from one year to the next. That means one year's grape will provide the same quality as another year's.

That coastal effect makes the Van Duzer corridor an ideal area for a vineyard. Those winds keep the region warmer when Oregon is cool and cooler when Oregon is warm. It helps to temper and moderate extremes, making this region a superb wine haven.

Vintage Stopped Mattering a While Back

Wine vintage can still matter for millionaires paying for exceptionally old wines to sit in their cellars for time eternal. That's because vineyards of a century ago didn't have the science and knowledge to shift as the weather and other conditions changed. Chances are you're buying wine to drink, or store for a while and then enjoy. That means enjoying the incredible range that's being produced these last several years.

Today we have the science and knowledge to grow consistently high-quality grapes with the same traits from one year to the next. That means that wine vintage doesn't matter for the vast majority of people.


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