Vineyards vs. Wineries

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Bins for Small House WineryIt’s that time of year again. We’re making runs down south into Idaho and over to the Columbia Valley in Washington State to pick up grapes.

Many of you have asked us how we can have a winery in Idaho – and how we grow the grapes. There’s a difference between a vineyard and a winery. Grapes are grown in a vineyard and wines are made at a winery. Sometimes they are one and the same, and often, they are not.

When you see the word “estate” on the label, this means the grapes were grown on the property where the wine was made. It might say “estate-grown” or estate-bottled.”

Our labels won’t have the word “estate” but they will indicate what region the grapes come from. So our Malbec is a Washington Malbec because the grapes are from Washington. Our chardonnay is an Idaho chardonnay but won’t have an appellation because the Central Idaho – The Lewis Clark Valley does not yet have a designation, although they are in the process of getting one.

Growing grapes is an art in and of itself, completely separate from making the wine. Just like winemaking, infinite options and decisions are made at every step of the way to produce the best quality fruit. While this is an area we aren’t interested in getting overly involved, we’re happy to finally be developing relationships with our growers. (This is our fourth harvest, after all.) What this means is we start to collaborate with them on some of the key decisions – things like when to pick the fruit, etc. Many very established wineries have designated plots within those vineyards and are even more involved in the growing process.

So, for those of us who don’t grow the grapes, we’re out on the highways this month in the fine grape growing regions with our trailers and our bins picking up grapes. This weekend marks our third and final run for grapes this year.

Most of the wineries in the country are busy now whether the grapes are their own or not. We’re bringing them back to the wineries to crush and de-stem, and then fermenting the whites and roses in barrels or vessels and the reds in bins.

There’s your little wine lesson for today. We love your questions so don’t be shy about asking, and we’ll either answer in the comments or write a blog post about it.

 

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