“Estate Wine” & “Estate Bottled” – two terms that you will come across frequently in the wine world. What do they mean exactly?
Estate Wine: Estate wine is reflective of wine made from vineyard sites owned, managed, or controlled by a winery that all fall in the same appellation. Most wineries will brag about offering a bottle of [INSERT VARIETAL], 100% estate fruit. It is actually an exciting point to showcase as many, many wineries source fruit from vineyard sites (even outside of their “home” appellation) that they cannot produce or don’t have the land or climate to host growths of.
Estate-Bottled: Estate-bottled takes estate wine one step further. Not only is the juice 100% estate grown, managed or controlled, but the whole process from crush to bottling takes place on-site. At no point in the production of the wine does the juice go off-site. With estate wine being estate-bottled you really are able to capture the vision of the winemaker. They know their terroir, they saw the grapes from bud break to harvest, they are fully aware of the cycles of days and seasons the grapes went through. They literally lived and grew alongside the fruit itself. Then comes harvest time, where they oversee all the handling of the fruit, crush conditions, temperature through fermentation, barrelling, racking, ageing, bottling, cork in, label on, into the boxes. The whole works.
The important thing to state here is 100% estate fruit, estate-bottled can and most likely will come from multiple vineyard sites. Estate fruit does not ever mean that the wine was sourced from a single block, vineyard, or the actual property you are standing on as owned, managed and controlled vineyards could be on completely opposite sides of an appellation. The positive to this though is that a winemaker has different expressions to play around with to find the perfect balance to deliver an incredible wine experience with layers of depth, complexity or finesse that a single-vineyard site may not be able to offer on its own.
Now that we are touching on single-vineyards, our next Understanding AVA installment? Single-vineyards…