A wine vintage is a year in which the grapes were harvested. A wine's vintage can greatly affect the taste and quality, primarily because of the weather that affects the vines throughout the growing season. Some wine collectors are specific in what vintages they collect for specific regions and varietals.
South African 2015 Vintage
South Africa will always remember 2015 as an exceptional vintage year. You can drink now or hold this vintage.
Warm, dry season throughout the Cape’s myriad regions led to a very consistent vintage, with even ripening and no disease pressure or damaging heat spikes.
“The 2015 harvest had the earliest start in decades. Warm weather in August resulted in earlier bud break, after which a warm, dry and windy summer kept vineyard growth under control and accelerated ripening by approximately two weeks,” said Francois Viljoen, manager of VinPro’s Consultation Service. The dry weather also led to one of the healthiest seasons in years, with almost no losses due to diseases or rot.
What Defines a Good or a Bad Vintage?
Essentially, the defining feature of a vintage is sunshine. Sunny days give grapes the best chance of reaching full maturity and optimum ripeness levels. If a region receives too much rain and clouds, grapes do not fully ripen, may be more prone to rot and disease, and tend to deliver lower-quality grapes. Conversely, if the region is too hot and sunny, then grapes become raisinated before they fully ripen and the resulting wines may be flabby or have bitter tannins.
Was It a Good Vintage?
You can look at vintage charts to see expert’s opinions on vintages. Keep in mind that if it was a good vintage in one region, it might not be one in another. Also, great vintage for red wines may not be as good for white wines from the same region.