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Frequently Asked Questions
What does "vintage" mean? 
The vintage year on a wine label is the harvest year of the grapes from which the wine was made. The characteristics of a particular vintage year are determined by the weather conditions and resulting grape crop for that year. A California wine with a vintage date must be made from at least 95 percent of grapes harvested in the designated year.


Are there rules to knowing which vintages are better for which wine regions?
The characteristics of a particular vintage are determined by the quality of that year's grape crop. Improvements in wine making over the years have made vintage year less central to choosing a wine produced in most wine regions.Vintages are more important when collecting more expensive wines, especially those designed to be aged, and in growing regions where a less than satisfactorygrowing season is not compensated for using innovative wine making technology or practices. If you are interested in learning about specific vintages, reading wine publications and tasting wines from different vintages will help you determine a vintage's characteristics.


Where does cork come from?
Corks are produced from the bark of a tree grown in the western Mediterranean. It is unique in that it can be peeled from the tree without hurting the tree.


Why is cork used to stop wine bottles?
Cork is used to stop wine bottles because its structure renders it light, elastic, and impermeable to most liquids and gases. Corks are produced using the bark of cork trees grown in the western Mediterranean.


Why are some wines white, some red, and some pink?
White wines are generally made with grapes with yellow or green skins. White wines can also be made from black-skinned grapes if the juice is separated from the grape skins early enough-i.e., before fermentation. Red wines get their color from being fermented in contact with the skins of dark grapes. Rosé gets its pink color by either a short contact time with the skins of dark-colored grapes before fermentation or by mixing finished red wine with finished white wine.


What is malolactic fermentation?
A natural process during which beneficial bacteria convert the malic (very tart) acid in a wine to lactic (softer tasting) acid. Malolactic fermentation can take place on its own or be prompted by the winemaker.