1978 was a good Port vintage, although not a declared one; the wines are not outstanding but are still attractive and drinkable. 1978 was the year when the labelling of 'single quinta' became popular. Michael Symington, Head Winemaker at Symington Family Estates (Owners of Warre's, Dow's, Cockburn's, Smith Woodhouse and Graham's among others) wrote of the 1978 vintage "Musts showed exceptional colour and body and very dark, heavy wines have certainly been made. Not a trace of mould or rot was to be seen on the grapes coming in, and seldom can a Vintage have been made from more uniformly healthy grapes."
1978 was a trouble free vintage across the Tuscany region with an early spring, warm but not excessively hot summer and well distributed rainfall. There was a certain amount of rain early in the harvest but those producers who picked later benefited from a period of uninterrupted fine weather. Altogether for Tuscany this was a 4 out of 5 Vintage. Conversely, the year started with cold and damp weather in Piedmont. Spring was particularly wet with lower than average seasonal temperatures; not until the second half of June did the weather pick up, too late for the flowering, which took place in very wet conditions causing a significant reduction in the crop. After light rains at the beginning of September, the weather suddenly turned around and the rest of the month was hot and dry with a marked difference between day and nighttime temperatures. The dramatic improvement continued through until the end of the Nebbiolo harvest during the third week of October. Natural selection and a warm autumn meant a very small crop of thick-skinned Nebbiolo grapes in Barolo and Barbaresco. By the end of the season this hailed as a great, long-lived vintage with a rating of 5/5. The produce of an exceptional vintage, 1970 ageing wine such as Barolo would make an excellent 41 year old wine gift for any birthday or anniversary.
The 1978 wine vintage was excellent for the Bordeaux region. The dry, hot summer produced wines that were medium-bodied, deeply coloured, fruity and moderately tannic. The wines reached their peak of maturity in the 1990s but are still drinking well now and will continue to do so for some years to come.