What You Should Know About Wine Release Dates

red wine

If you've ever wondered why your favorite wine is on the shelves in abundance one month, but hard to find months later, it's because of wine release dates.

About Wine Release Dates

The best way to find the release date of a wine is to either call or visit the vineyard's website to find the exact date of release. Unfortunately, there is no general time frame or list of release dates around the world. The only wine released at the same time every year is Beaujolais Nouveau.

When you think about it, different regions of the world have different planting, harvesting and bottling schedules. They also have varying climates that affect when the grapes are planted and harvested, so it makes sense that there are not general release dates for different wine producing regions of the world.

The exact date of any wine's release depends on the winery. There are, however, times of the year in which more wines are released to the public. This is mostly due to the same general time of the year in which the grapes are harvested.

As a general rule of thumb, more wines are released during the early spring and fall than in the summer and winter.

Some Specific Wine Release Dates

There are a few wineries that list specific release dates within certain years. Keep in mind that those release dates may vary a little from year to year. Generally, the wines will be released in the same season.

February 2010 Release Examples

Some wine enthusiasts have been waiting for the release of some of their favorite wines for a few years. Here are a few wine releases for February 2010:

  • 2005 Silver Oak Cabernet
  • 2005 Oakwood Cellars Merlot
  • 2006 Maldorom Napa Valley Cabernet
  • 2007 Bryant Family Napa Valley Cabernet
  • 2007 Barlow Napa Valley Zinfandel
  • 2008 Brass Tacks Petite Sirah
  • 2006 Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet
  • 2007 Covington Cellars Cabernet Franc

Now, you may think that these are very specific releases and are wondering about the following years. What you need to keep in mind is that most wineries, unless it is a special batch or vintage, release the same label wines around the same time every year.

So, for example, the 2005 Silver Oak Cab had a February 2010 release date. You can translate that into the fact that the 2006 Silver Oak Cab would probably have a release date in February of 2011. Meaning, Silver Oak waits about five years before releasing some of their best cabs.

The same can be said for some of the other wines such as the 2007 Covington Cellars Cabernet Franc. Covington Cellars holds their Cabernet Franc bottles for three years before releasing them. This gives the wine the proper time to age and mellow. So, if you are looking for a 2008 bottle of Covington Cellars Cabernet Franc, you can expect the release to be somewhere in February of 2011.

Clearing Up Confusion

You can clear up a lot of confusion and guesswork regarding wine release dates by simply calling the winery. If you can't seem to get through, head on down to your favorite wine merchant and ask a knowledgeable sales rep. Often times, those in the wine industry get release dates for specific bottles of wine before the general public is notified.

Finding Your Favorite Bottles

If there is a specific year and vintage of wine for which you are searching and it hasn't been released to the public yet, you're going to have to do a bit of research. An online search or checking their website frequently is going to garner the best chances for getting your hands on a bottle.

Finally, you still have options if you want to get your hands on a highly allocated or particularly favorite bottle of wine and you are afraid it's going to hit the store shelves and be gone before you have the chance to get your hands on a few bottles. Many wineries have special clubs you can join. One of the benefits to these clubs is the fact that the winery often offers these highly allocated wines for sale to its members before the general public.

What You Should Know About Wine Release Dates