What is the importance behind the year of a bottle of wine (or other alcoholic beverage)? E.g, “this is a bottle of 1962 blahblah…” Is it just the age? Something more?

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What is the importance behind the year of a bottle of wine (or other alcoholic beverage)? E.g, “this is a bottle of 1962 blahblah…” Is it just the age? Something more?

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The more rare a bottle is the more it is worth. The more it is worth the more people will get a placebo effect when they drink it and think it tastes better.

It might actually, or it might not. Everytime they do a scientific study about it it turns out people can’t really tell the difference. But they know how much money they paid for it so that they can taste real good.

Sometimes there are arguments about the season that the grapes had. So if it’s a really dry season in 1962 the grapes will taste differently than a really wet season in 1963. If the average person or even a professional sommelier can actually tell the difference is up for debate.

Generally when you see something like this, it’s because a specific region (and therefor vineyard) has optimal growing conditions for that year. Sometimes it’s because of who owned the bottle previously (see bottles owned by Thomas Jefferson and similar), but generally it’s because it supposedly tastes better.

It tells you when the grapes were harvested. For the most part it’s just tradition. Most wines don’t improve significantly with age and are intended to be drunk within a year or two of bottling.

Some people argue that certain years in certain areas are “better” than others, but differences in other parts of the production process can often make a bigger difference.

It’s really only important for the wines that do age well. The average person, and often even experts, wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a 2013 and 2014 Bordeaux, but almost anyone could tell the difference between a 2014 and 1994. Extended aging makes a huge difference in flavor and appearance.