What vintage is that wine? This has long been another way of asking what year (or age) is the wine. Though this is also commonly seen on wine labels it is our second example of an item not required by the TTB to appear. However when wineries do choose to include it the minimum percentage requirements fall into two categories which tie in with what appellation is used on the label. And also while we’re at it an appellation is automatically required if a vintage is put on a label. The first category for minimum percentage requirements is if the appellation is an approved viticultural area, or AVA.
These are specifically defined geographic areas approved by the TTB with distinctive growing conditions and historical data unique to the region. If an AVA is used on a label then the vintage requirements are a minimum of 95%. The second category for appellation designation is if a political subdivision is used such as a county name or state name. In this case the vintage requirements are a minimum of 85%. To give examples of each of these for a wine with a label that states Russian River Valley (An AVA) and 2008 that would mean that at least 95% of the blend came from fruit harvested in the 2008 season. And a label stating Mendocino County and 2008 would mean that at least 85% of the blend consists of fruit harvested in the 2008 season. Perhaps you are beginning to get an idea how many of these label items very quickly intertwine with the others in a somewhat maze-like fashion.
Next item: Appellation of origin