vintage year, the year in which a wine was produced and the characteristics of that year. Most, but not all, of its characteristics result from particular weather conditions experienced. In the southern hemisphere, a vintage-dated wine invariably carries the year in which the grapes were picked, even though much of the vine growth cycle was actually in the previous year. In the northern hemisphere, vintage-dated wines carry the year in which both the vine growth occurred and the grapes were picked (with the exception of those rare examples of eiswein picked in early January, which are dated with the year whose vine growth produced the wine). The expression ‘vintage year’ is also sometimes used of a year producing particularly high-quality wines.