What Is An 'Estate Vineyard?'

It's embarrassing to admit, but a lot of wine-related terminology confuses me when I first hear it.

I usually wind up smiling vacantly and nodding along with the conversation, hoping other people don't catch on that I have no idea what they just said - and then later have to ask Dad, point-blank, to explain.

Sometimes the words seem deliberately confusing for no good reason, when a plain English version would suit just as well. Like "the legs of the wine." What on God's green earth are wine legs?? Fish don't have fingers, chickens don't have fingers, and wine is a liquid!

Turns out the phrase just refers to the little rivulets of liquid that run down the inside of the glass after you've swirled the wine around. Like the raindrops on the car window that you totally *never* pretended were racing each other. ;)

That's all.

Just a fancy phrase for a simple concept.

And there are so many others like it!

Granted, some of them turn out to be much more self-explanatory. 'Estate vineyard' was one of those, for me.

So, an 'estate vineyard' is a vineyard...on the estate...of the winery. A vineyard owned by the winery. A winery-vineyard combo, as opposed to a winery that gets its grapes from somewhere else.

And some wineries do that. They buy the grapes from someone who grows them, then ship them to their facility. Then the winery just makes the wine. That way the process can be split up, and different people can focus on the separate steps of it. One person grows the grapes, the other makes the wine.

But other wineries prefer to grow the grapes themselves. That way, the winemakers can be more involved in the whole life of their grapes, and control more closely the flavours they will have to work with at the end. These get the special title of Estate Vineyards. Oooh. Fancy. Right?

We have an estate vineyard. We make the wine, but we also grow our own grapes. It's a ton of work - it really is two separate operations, but we love being connected to it, from the first leaf in the spring to pouring the finished wine out of the bottle. The extra work is worth it, for us.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. ;)

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