Winery, Vineyards or Cellar… What’s the Difference?
In a recent issue of Napa Valley Life, writer Kent Higginbotham posed this question in the Mischievous Ink section of the magazine.
Pretty simple, right? But there can be some confusion around this issue. For example, our fans often ask to visit our winery or tasting room. We produce wine—but we don’t have a winery per se. Sometimes this is a little confusing—but more about that later.
First, let’s talk about the diffs between a winery, a vineyard and a cellar.
Winery: a bonded winery is a licensed building or property that produces wine. Some have permits for tasting rooms; others do not. Use permits also regulate how many visitors or events a winery can have per year, what time events need to end, whether or not weddings can be held at the winery. NOTE: there are only a few wineries in Napa that are actually permitted to hold weddings. Tough to understand since so many couples would love to get married in a winery here!
Wineries that allow weddings in Napa:
Vineyards: A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines grown for winemaking. You can have a vineyard without having a winery—grapegrowers may sell their grapes to other wineries to be used in wine under a different label, or they may produce their own label by taking their grapes to a bonded/licensed winery and use their equipment and facilities to produce the finished wine.
Here are some famous vineyards in Napa that provide grapes to a variety of wineries and may produce their own labels as well:
Cellar: A wine cellar by definition is a place to store and age wine. These can be as basic as a temperature controlled warehouse or as elaborate as a cave dug deep into the hill and naturally cooled by the earth. Sometimes, you will see cellar used as as part of the name of the wine, such as Heitz Cellar or Broman Cellars.
Here are a few Napa wineries known for their caves:
So, how do the Wine Sisterhood wines fit into this scheme? As mentioned, we don’t own a winery (building) or vineyard (grape farm) per se. We do work with a Napa winery and a team of talented winemakers to source grapes, assemble the blends, get them in the bottle and send them off to you! We participate in the process every step of the way. Our wines are bottled in Napa, but we source from appellations (winegrowing regions) throughout the state of California, matching the grapes to our labels. This lets us bring great wine to you at a reasonable price.
As far as a tasting room in concerned, someday we may open one in downtown Napa. If you’re REALLY interested in getting up close and personal with the Wine Sisterhood lifestyle, we invite you to join us at the Second Annual Wine Sisterhood Gathering, March 3-5, 2013. We will take you behind the scenes with us to our very favorite restaurants, wineries and hidden treasures of Napa Valley. Hope you can join us!