We are extremely familiar in today’s day and time with the word ‘vintage’. Vintage fashion, vintage handbags, vintage furniture, vintage wine, but what does this so fondly used word actually mean? Where does this oh so old word come from?
V I N T A G E (noun.)
From the Early 15th Century the word ‘vintage’ was used when relating to grapes, the ‘harvest of grapes, the yield of wine from a vineyard’ but etymology research doesn’t specifically define in which context or reference this word was used for, so history on the use of this word is fairly vague at this point in time…
Moving into the 14th Century Anglo-French vintage. This word became of common use in France, from the old French language word ‘vendage’ (word meaning: vine harvest/yield from a vineyard). This particular word ‘vendage’ originates from the beautiful Latin: ‘vindemia’ which means ‘a gathering of grapes, yield of grapes.’. Collectively, it could be assumed that the word vintage was a predominantly French word used to describe the yield of grapes during the wine season.
Then moving further on through the years we arrive at 1746 where as a mere fashion statement, instead of using the word ‘vintage’ to describe the yield of the grape harvest this word was being used more and more to describe the age and year of a particular wine. This remained the fashion for roughly just over 100 years then slowly as time went on the meaning faded into a general adjectival sense of ‘being of an earlier time‘.
By 1883, the Oxford dictionary definition of the word vintage was ‘being of an earlier time’. Restricted to wines, furniture, objects of class, value and age.
Arriving at early 1928, the word was being used for cars, cars of value, cars which only the upper class could afford to restore and drive with pride. The word vintage had claimed yet another object to its superiority.
Today in 2015 the definition is now a broad definition…wines, objects, yet all definitions of quality!
So the next time someone mentions the word ‘vintage’, pause, is it really vintage they’re talking about?
(Photographs used, solely belong to Vintage Treasures, all objects pictured can be found in store.)