Over the last decade alone, visits to wineries and vineyards have greatly increased in popularity. But very few people know the difference between the two. In this post, you will briefly learn the distinctions between them. And more specifically what to expect on your first trip to a vineyard.
So what’s the difference, anyway?
Well, wineries are where every part of the creating process takes place once the grapes have finished growing and have been harvested. It’s where the grapes are processed, the stems and leaves are removed, and the fruit is juiced. The crushed grapes are fermented and aged for a set period of time and bottled before being shipped out for distribution.
A vineyard is the reason why any of it is possible in the first place. It’s the plantation, or property, that contains the grape-bearing vines needed for winemaking. Size doesn’t matter; It could be small with only a couple of acres or larger with hundreds of acres. You can have a vineyard without a winery, but you can’t have a winery without a vineyard. Frequently, grape growers sell their grapes to be used under other labels, or they use another wineries facility to produce their label. This is especially true of smaller, family-owned establishments which can’t afford to own and run their individual wineries. So, they ship out their grapes to larger wineries for processing. It’s common for vineyards and wineries to be at the same location and managed by the same people, but in many cases, they are separated.
Typically though, if a label says “vineyard” on the bottle of wine, they are likely responsible for growing the grapes and producing the wine as well. And many facilities offer a tour of their property, in addition to a wine tasting. Listed below is your beginner’s guide for visiting a vineyard.
Tips for Visiting a Vineyard
Always call in advance to make a reservation. It will save you the headache of getting to a vineyard that doesn’t have the availability to give you a tour that day. Keep in mind, summertime is an especially busy time of year. But if it’s the only time you are able to visit, don’t let it stop you from going.
Before leaving, designate a driver. The intent of a wine tasting is not to get drunk. Experts make sure not to swallow the wine, especially when tasting a lot of them back to back. But it’s still wise to designate a driver before leaving, so you can ensure safe, transportation home. If no one is willing to be that person- turn it into a weekend getaway! Book a nearby hotel, and uber your way to and from the vineyard.
Casual attire works best, and you will want to be in shoes you don’t mind getting a little dirty. In a vineyard, you can expect to walk through soft dirt, gravel, and dusty paths. Also, depending on the time of day, you should bring a hat to shade you from the sun.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, they will appreciate your interest. There are different characteristics in each winegrowing region, with customized farming practices that ensure optimal growing conditions for each grape variety and in turn, unique wine flavors. They will be happy to explain their individual process to you.
Try New Things
The only way to find new flavors you enjoy is to step out of your comfort zone. Go ahead. Shake it all off and get those glasses ready.