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Is this a winery, vineyard, or cellar?


You may have noticed that your wine bottles may note a winery, vineyard, or cellar. What’s the difference? What does each term mean? Have you ever wondered these things? We have; and so we found the answers. Think of a vineyard as step one in the grape process, a winery as step two, and a cellar as step three:

First, the grapes start out in a vineyard. A vineyard is the beautiful field, or yard, of usually many acres where the grapes are planted. In a vineyard, only grapes are grown and cultivated, and these grapes can be used to make wine, raisins, fruit grapes, and other grape products. So,

Step 1

Your grapes start out growing in a vineyard.

Step 2

The beautiful, plump, picked grapes that are destined to become wine get harvested and sent to a winery. That makes sense, right? Grapes are made into wine at a winery. At a bonded/licensed winery, which is a building, grapes are separated, cleaned (stems and leaves are removed), crushed, fermented, aged, bottled, labeled as the wines you know and love, and finally shipped out for distribution to your favorite wine stores, grocery stores, and restaurants. All aspects of wine-making occur at this facility called a winery, and some even have tasting rooms and hold tasting events and even weddings! Most wineries with tasting rooms have permits as to the number of visitors or events they can handle per year.

Step 3

Wine is stored in a wine cellar and continues to age for its best taste. Thus, wineries typically have wine cellars, some vineyards might as well, and many people also have them in their homes. You can also find them in restaurants. They are usually temperature controlled, but some wineries and vineyards may actually have specific wine ‘caves’ dug into the earth for natural cooling (Rutherford Hill Winery and Jarvis Winery are two examples in Napa)!


Now, some vineyards have wineries on site and some vineyards do not. Some wineries connected to a vineyard may also process grapes from other vineyards. Some vineyard owners may take their grapes to a winery to make wine under a different name, and some vineyard owners may take their grapes to a winery to make wine under the vineyard name! Some do both! This may be why these terms have often been confusing. Therefore, when a wine is noted as vineyard, it means that that the vineyard that the grapes grew in and the winery that they were processed in were on the same property, OR the vineyard owners took their grapes to a winery to make wine under the vineyard name. If the wine is noted as winery, the grapes grew and were processed in two separate locations. So, now you know a little bit more about the information on your wine bottles! Keep in mind, though, there are no legal standards in the use of these three terms (vineyard, winery, and cellar), so just pick the wine that tastes the best to you. There’s no way to say that a wine tastes best when it comes from a vineyard, winery, or cellar.


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