When you read the name of the winemaker on the label of your bottle of wine, you probably imagine that the name is chosen as a marketing tactic. Most people assume that wine is produced in a winery, and that the use of the word “cellars” in a name is there to make things sound a little more upscale. The reality is that there is a difference between a wine cellar and wineries, which is what we are going to discuss in this piece. We will also touch on vineyards, which is another name that you may see mentioned on your label.
Let’s start by talking about what a winery is. Essentially, it is a building that has been licensed and able to make and sell alcohol. Many wineries come with a tasting room where guests can come and sample the wines made there, but there are also many more that do not offer that service. The reason many avoid tasting rooms is because of the permits that are required to do so. The same rules apply when a winery wants to host weddings and other special events. Permits are required, and limits may be placed on how many people can be in the winery at any given time, which can make operating these events tough to manage.
A cellar is where wine is stored and aged by the winemaker. While we all imagine an underground cave of some kind as the place where wine is stored, the reality is that a wine cellar could just as easily be a large warehouse that has been converted to be able to store wine at the correct temperature. The winemakers who routinely store their wines in a cellar will often use the “cellar” name on their labels. It really is just as the name suggests.
There are many people who assume that every winery will have acres and acres of vineyards on their ground, but this is actually not the case. There are plenty of wineries that do not grow their own grapes, but instead source their grapes from local growers who own and operate vineyards. Some of the vineyard owners will create their own labels to be produced at a local winery, while others are content to simply sell their grapes to a number of different wineries, knowing that those establishments will use their own labels.
The good news here is that you are able to explore all three of these unique set-ups when you travel through wine country. You will see rolling vineyards all around you in these regions, and you now know that the grapes grown there may not be for one specific winery. Most wineries are happy to give you a tour, and it is possible to get into the cellars, and perhaps even sample some reserve wines straight out of the barrel. They are all part of the same wonderful industry, but each one has something a little different o offer their guests.