General English

  • adjective made in a high-quality year
  • adjective showing the best typical qualities of someone
  • adjective old but well-preserved and often valuable
  • noun all the wine made in a particular year


  • noun the work of collecting grapes to make wine, or the grapes that are collected
  • noun a fine wine made in a particular year


  • the year the grapes were harvested and the wine was made. Non-vintage (NV) wines, when two or more wines from different years are blended together, are usually only specified as such for Champagne or other sparkling wines.

Origin & History of “vintage”

The vintage is etymologically the ‘taking away of wine’. The word’s ultimate source is Latin vindēmia ‘grape gathering’, a compound noun formed from vīnum ‘wine’ (source of English wine) and dēmere ‘take away, take off’ (which in turn was a compound verb based on emere ‘buy, take’). This passed into English via Old French vendange as vendage, which by association with vintner (15th c.) (another derivative ultimately of Latin vīnum) soon changed to vintage. It continued at first to be restricted to the general sense ‘grape crop’. The specific application to the crop of a particular year did not begin to emerge until the 18th century, and this led at the end of the 19th century to the broad use of the word for ‘year when something was produced’. Connotations of ‘oldness’ were encouraged by its application to ‘vintage cars’, first recorded in 1928.