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A winery is a building or property that produces wine, or a business involved in the production of wine, such as a wine company. [1] Some wine companies own many wineries. Besides wine making equipment, larger wineries may also feature warehouses, bottling lines, laboratories, and large expanses of tanks known as tank farms. Wineries may have existed as long as 8,000 years ago.


Ancient history

The earliest known evidence of winemaking at a relatively large scale, if not evidence of actual wineries, has been found in the Middle East. In 2011 a team of archaeologists discovered a 6000 year old wine press in a cave in the Areni region of Armenia, [2] and identified the site as a small winery. [3] Previously, in the northern Zagros Mountains in Iran, jars over 7000 years old were discovered to contain tartaric acid crystals (a chemical marker of wine), providing evidence of winemaking in that region. Archaeological excavations in the southern Georgian region of Kvemo Kartli uncovered evidence of wine-making equipment (containers called qvevri ) dating back 8000 years. [4] In 2017 the remnants of an 8000-year-old facility for large-scale production was found 20 miles south of Tbilisi, Georgia. [5]


Sherry winery at Jerez de la Frontera Lustau 003An2019.jpg
Sherry winery at Jerez de la Frontera

Wineries typically employ winemakers to produce various wines from grapes by following the winemaking process. This process involves the fermentation of fruit, as well as blending and aging of the juice. The grapes may be from vineyards owned by the winery or may be brought in from other locations. Many wineries also give tours and have cellar doors or tasting rooms where customers can taste wines before they make a purchase. Winery architecture is very varied and rich and it is used by wineries as a way to promote their wines and cellar doors.

Types and locations

The winery of the Lepaa campus in Hattula, Finland Lepaan viinitila.jpg
The winery of the Lepaa campus in Hattula, Finland

While some associate wineries with large winemaking regions such as Napa Valley [6] and Sonoma Valley in California, the Barossa Valley in Australia or the legendary wine regions of France (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne) and Italy, wineries can be found nearly everywhere. The east coast of the United States also has winemaking regions like New York's Finger Lakes region, Aquidneck Island, RI and Long Island, NY and Cape May, NJ. Wineries do not have to be located adjacent to vineyards; grapes can be shipped anywhere. In addition, people make wine out of other fruits and plants (dandelion wine, apple wine, strawberry wine, honey wine), so these specialty wineries tend to pop up where the other substances are grown. For example, a winery in Hawaii produces pineapple wine.

Farm wineries

Farm winery vineyard in Napa Napa Vineyard.jpg
Farm winery vineyard in Napa

A class of winery license known as the farm winery allows farms to produce and sell wines on site. Farm wineries differ from commercial wineries in that the fruit which is the source of the wine is usually produced on the farm, and the final product is also sold on the farm. States such as New York have given a special permit to open a satellite store in a tourist area. New York's passing of the Farm Winery Act of 1976 set an example for other states to pass similar laws.

Farm wineries usually operate at a smaller scale than commercial wineries. Farm wineries are a form of value added marketing, known as agritourism, for farmers who may otherwise struggle to show a profit. [7]


A micro-winery can either be at a small farm vineyard is a small wine producer or may not have its own vineyard, and instead sources its grape product from outside suppliers. The concept is similar to a microbrewery, in that small batches of product are made primarily for local consumption. [8] The concept of the micro-winery is not as easily accepted as that of the microbrewery, however, as the general public has been conditioned to associate a winery as having a vineyard. A winery uses similar wine-making equipment as a major commercial winery, just on a smaller scale. Glass carboys and sanitary plastic pails are often seen in the facilities of a micro-winery. Typically, each batch of wine yields 23 Liters (6 US gallons). One of the primary differences of a micro-winery as compared to a typical winery is that a micro-winery is typically able to offer a wider range of wines; as it is not tied to the grapes it grows. New York State provides a specific micro-winery license [9] that requires the microwinery to purchase local ingredients.

Urban winery

The urban winery is a recent phenomenon whereby a wine producer chooses to locate their winemaking facility in an urban setting within a city rather than in the traditional rural setting near the vineyards. [10] With advances in technology and transportation, it is not a problem for an urban winery to grow their grapes in a remote location and then transport them to the urban facility for crushing, fermentation and aging. Urban wineries have been opened in cities across the United States including San Francisco; Sacramento; Portland, Oregon; Seattle; [11] Frederick, Maryland; New York; Cincinnati; San Diego; and Los Angeles to name a few. Wilridge Winery was the first urban winery in Seattle. [12]

Wine aficionados traditionally had to travel to remote areas to learn about winemaking firsthand and to taste the offerings of a wine producer in the setting in which they were made. Now, many urban dwellers can hop in their car for a short drive or take public transportation or even walk, and have an authentic winery experience. Many urban wineries offer productions tours and a traditional tasting room for this purpose and also offer retail sales. This allows the consumer to purchase directly from the source ensuring that wines have been stored correctly and not subjected to extreme conditions that can occur in transport which can occasionally result in spoiled wines.

A few urban wineries are also incorporating full-service restaurants or venues for live entertainment. Many also offer their customers the ability to make their own wine under the guidance of their winemaking team. Amateur winemakers can choose the grape varieties, select an appellation, make production decisions along the way and participate in the final blending, bottling and even design their own labels. This has spawned a new generation of boutique wines that are available in micro quantities as small as 30 bottles.

Winery wastewater

Winery wastewater is primarily generated during the cleaning of winemaking equipment and facilities. The quantity and quality of wastewater shows seasonal variations. Wastewater handling involves collection, possible treatment, then disposal and/or reuse.

Peak wastewater generation occurs during the "crush", in other words, when grapes are actively being processed into juice for fermentation. This process requires large amounts of clean water and results in a high wastewater output. To a lesser degree, wastewater is produced if boilers or water conditioning equipment is used.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chardonnay</span> Variety of grape mainly used to make wine

Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used in the production of white wine. The variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand. For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is seen as a 'rite of passage' and an easy entry into the international wine market.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Winemaking</span> Production of wine

Winemaking or vinification is the production of wine, starting with the selection of the fruit, its fermentation into alcohol, and the bottling of the finished liquid. The history of wine-making stretches over millennia. The science of wine and winemaking is known as oenology. A winemaker may also be called a vintner. The growing of grapes is viticulture and there are many varieties of grapes.

<i>Terroir</i> Factors affecting crops

Terroir is a French term used to describe the environmental factors that affect a crop's phenotype, including unique environment contexts, farming practices and a crop's specific growth habitat. Collectively, these contextual characteristics are said to have a character; terroir also refers to this character.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red wine</span> Wine made from dark-colored grape varieties

Red wine is a type of wine made from dark-colored grape varieties. The color of the wine can range from intense violet, typical of young wines, through to brick red for mature wines and brown for older red wines. The juice from most purple grapes is greenish-white, the red color coming from anthocyan pigments present in the skin of the grape. Much of the red wine production process involves extraction of color and flavor components from the grape skin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Winemaker</span> Person engaged in winemaking

A winemaker or vintner is a person engaged in winemaking. They are generally employed by wineries or wine companies, where their work includes:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malolactic fermentation</span> Process in winemaking

Malolactic conversion is a process in winemaking in which tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid. Malolactic fermentation is most often performed as a secondary fermentation shortly after the end of the primary fermentation, but can sometimes run concurrently with it. The process is standard for most red wine production and common for some white grape varieties such as Chardonnay, where it can impart a "buttery" flavor from diacetyl, a byproduct of the reaction.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ridge Vineyards</span> Northern California winery

Ridge Vineyards is a California winery specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Chardonnay wines. Ridge produces wine at two winery locations in northern California. The original winery facilities are located at an elevation of 2,300 feet on Monte Bello Ridge in unincorporated Santa Clara County in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, south of Los Altos, California and west of Cupertino, California. The other Ridge winery facilities are at Lytton Springs in the Dry Creek Valley AVA of Sonoma County. Ridge Vineyard's 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon gained prominence for its fifth-place finish in the 1976 "Judgment of Paris" wine tasting.

The glossary of wine terms lists the definitions of many general terms used within the wine industry. For terms specific to viticulture, winemaking, grape varieties, and wine tasting, see the topic specific list in the "See also" section below.

The history of Oregon wine production stretches back to before the state was incorporated. Settlers to the Oregon Territory planted grapes as early as the 1840s, however the production of wine has only been a significant industry in Oregon since the 1960s. Oregon wines first achieved significant critical notice in the late 1970s; in 2005, the industry sold 1.6 million cases of Oregon vintages with a retail value of US$184.7 million. In 2015, there were 702 wineries and 28,034 acres of vitis vinifera planted.

Napa Valley is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) located in Napa County in California's Wine Country. It was established by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) on January 27, 1981. Napa Valley is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world. Records of commercial wine production in the region date back to the nineteenth century, but premium wine production dates back only to the 1960s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul Draper (winemaker)</span> American winemaker

Paul Draper is a California winemaker who has been the chief winemaker at Ridge Vineyards in California since 1969. Without any formal training in winemaking, Draper first gained recognition for his 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon when it placed fifth at the Judgment of Paris wine tasting. Draper has played a significant role in the history of California wine through his pioneering work in popularizing "vineyard-designated" wines as well as instigating the resurgence of old vine Zinfandel. Along with Ravenswood Winery's Joel Peterson, Draper is considered one of the most important figures in the history of Californian Zinfandel, rescuing the grape from obscurity and demonstrating its full potential as a serious wine. Draper was featured in a short film titled Terroir and directed by Christopher McGilvray which was shown at the 2017 Cinequest Film Festival.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">David R. Bennion</span> American winemaker

David Ralph Bennion (1929–1988) was a leading California winemaker who was the founder and winemaker at Ridge Vineyards in California from 1959 to 1969. From an early period, Bennion labeled Ridge Vineyards wines by vineyard, district and appellation, a first for California Zinfandel and a practice later followed by nearly every winery in the state. Ridge's flagship wine, Monte Bello is considered one of the great wines of the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Organic wine</span> Wine made from grapes in the principles of organic farming

Organic wine is wine made from grapes grown in accordance with the principles of organic farming, which excludes the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Acids in wine</span>

The acids in wine are an important component in both winemaking and the finished product of wine. They are present in both grapes and wine, having direct influences on the color, balance and taste of the wine as well as the growth and vitality of yeast during fermentation and protecting the wine from bacteria. The measure of the amount of acidity in wine is known as the “titratable acidity” or “total acidity”, which refers to the test that yields the total of all acids present, while strength of acidity is measured according to pH, with most wines having a pH between 2.9 and 3.9. Generally, the lower the pH, the higher the acidity in the wine. There is no direct connection between total acidity and pH. In wine tasting, the term “acidity” refers to the fresh, tart and sour attributes of the wine which are evaluated in relation to how well the acidity balances out the sweetness and bitter components of the wine such as tannins. Three primary acids are found in wine grapes: tartaric, malic, and citric acids. During the course of winemaking and in the finished wines, acetic, butyric, lactic, and succinic acids can play significant roles. Most of the acids involved with wine are fixed acids with the notable exception of acetic acid, mostly found in vinegar, which is volatile and can contribute to the wine fault known as volatile acidity. Sometimes, additional acids, such as ascorbic, sorbic and sulfurous acids, are used in winemaking.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Old World wine</span>

Old World wine refers primarily to wine made in Europe but can also include other regions of the Mediterranean basin with long histories of winemaking such as North Africa and the Near East. The phrase is often used in contrast to "New World wine" which refers primarily to wines from New World wine regions such as the United States, Australia, South America and South Africa. The term "Old World wine" does not refer to a homogeneous style with "Old World wine regions" like Austria, France, Georgia, Italy, Portugal, and Spain each making vastly different styles of wine even within their own borders. Rather, the term is used to describe general differences in viticulture and winemaking philosophies between the Old World regions where tradition and the role of terroir lead versus the New World where science and the role of the winemaker are more often emphasized. In recent times, the globalization of wine and advent of flying winemakers have lessened the distinction between the two terms with winemakers in one region being able to produce wines that can display the traits of the other region—i.e. an "Old World style" wine being produced in a New World wine region like California or Chile and vice versa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pressing (wine)</span> Process of extracting juice from grapes in winemaking

In winemaking, pressing is the process where juice is extracted from the grapes with the aid of a wine-press, by hand, or even by the weight of the grape berries and clusters. Historically, intact grape clusters were trodden by feet but in most wineries today the grapes are sent through a crusher/destemmer, which removes the individual grape berries from the stems and breaks the skins, releasing some juice, prior to being pressed. There are exceptions, such as the case of sparkling wine production in regions such as Champagne where grapes are traditionally whole-cluster pressed with stems included to produce a lighter must that is low in phenolics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Benovia Winery</span>

Benovia Winery is a family-owned producer of Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel wines in Santa Rosa, California. Founded in 2005 by Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane, Benovia Winery farms three estate vineyards which total 71.67 acres (290,000 m2) and are located in the Russian River Valley AVA and Sonoma Coast AVA in Sonoma County. To supplement the fruit it harvests each year, Benovia purchases additional grapes from two sites farmed by the Martinelli family. Benovia's winemaker, Mike Sullivan, is also co-owner of the winery. Benovia wines are produced and bottled at the winery's winemaking facilities at the Martaella Estate Vineyard in the Russian River Valley AVA. Annual production is approximately 6,000 cases. Benovia wines are sold direct to customers, as well as distributed to restaurants and other retailers for resale.

Hanzell Vineyards is a California wine producer located just outside the town of Sonoma. The winery was founded by James David Zellerbach who acquired 200 acres in the Mayacamas Mountains in 1943 and began planting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in 1953. At the time, the entire state of California had fewer than 200 acres planted to Chardonnay.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yeast in winemaking</span> Yeasts used for alcoholic fermentation of wine

The role of yeast in winemaking is the most important element that distinguishes wine from fruit juice. In the absence of oxygen, yeast converts the sugars of the fruit into alcohol and carbon dioxide through the process of fermentation. The more sugars in the grapes, the higher the potential alcohol level of the wine if the yeast are allowed to carry out fermentation to dryness. Sometimes winemakers will stop fermentation early in order to leave some residual sugars and sweetness in the wine such as with dessert wines. This can be achieved by dropping fermentation temperatures to the point where the yeast are inactive, sterile filtering the wine to remove the yeast or fortification with brandy or neutral spirits to kill off the yeast cells. If fermentation is unintentionally stopped, such as when the yeasts become exhausted of available nutrients and the wine has not yet reached dryness, this is considered a stuck fermentation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chinook Wines</span>

Chinook is a Washington winery located in the Yakima Valley AVA. Founded in 1983 by the wife and husband team of Kay Simon and Clay Mackey, Chinook was one of the pioneering wineries that established Prosser, Washington as a major wine-producing region in Washington state. Kay Simon, who began her career after graduating in 1976 from University of California-Davis in California's San Joaquin Valley and at Chateau Ste. Michelle, was one of the first female winemaker in Washington State. Chinook wines are widely regarded for their quality and help spread recognition for Washington wines. They are considered by wine experts such as Paul Gregutt to be "the classic expression of Yakima Valley fruit". Chinook's work with Cabernet franc, in particular, has garnered the statewide acclaim with the dry Cabernet franc rosé often described in wine reviews as a "Washington Chinon".


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