Once upon a time, vintages of wine really mattered. The difference between awful and amazing was dependent upon the vintage. While this certainly remains the case for collectible wines, most wine today is built for consistency.
One of my good friends that is a retail buyer called me this week to see when the 2008 Oregon Pinots would be released. We are right in the middle of the 2007 release in most cases. So I replied that they would start rolling out around April. He replied "I'll just wait until the 08's come out".
For the sake of example, the following is only in regards to Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs:
Now I understand that 2007 was not the vintage 2008 was. 2008 will likely offer more depth and longevity. and 2007 was considered to be challenging to many. In the last few months, I have tasted the 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintage of practically all of my producers. I can say without a doubt that 2007's are showing the best right now, except for the absolute top level bottlings (in which case, 06's are still showing great). This illustrates a problem with buyers. They are often buying on perceived vintage reputations written about in trade magazines. Then the buyers are staking their reputation on the idea that being selective in vintage purchases will make them a better wine shop. In some cases, this is true, but for a $25 Oregon Pinot Noir? Undoubtedly, the best of the 3 current vintages to drink tonight is 2007, and this will be the case even after 2008's are released. In fact, the 2008's won't start being great until they've been released for 6 months,and it still may take another 6 months until they actually are drinking better than the 2007's. Apples to apples it's probably true that the 2008 at it's best will be better than the 2007 but very far from it right now. The best time to sell them the 2008's will probably be December of 2010. So, is this responsible? Are you selling wine for tonight or wine for the future? You would bring in the 08's ahead of the 07's with no impunity for how they're showing today? Furthermore, are your customers stubborn about buying the 08's only, or are you projecting that upon them?