Our Top Wineries lists have seen some comment that not all the wineries are places where wine is made and grapes grown.

The names on our list are wine producers. If we use the word ‘winery’ loosely, it’s a reflection of common parlance.

There are many ways to be a wine producer. You can:

  1. Own your own vineyard and always source 100% of your grapes from that vineyard, and make, mature and bottle the wine yourself.
  2. Do all the above except bottle your wine. You send your wine off in tankers to be bottled at a contract bottling facility – or invite a mobile bottler to visit your winery and do it for you on-site.
  3. Own your own vineyard and winery and do all the above except reserve the right to supplement your harvest by buying grapes from other people.
  4. Own your own vineyard but no winery, and have your wine made by a contract winemaker.
  5. Own your own winery but no vines, and buy all your grapes in from growers.
  6. Own no winery and no vines and simply buy grapes and organise a winery to make them into wine.
  7. Some combination of the above.

Who is to say that any of these possibilities are not entitled to be treated as a wine producer by critics and the media?

Many years ago, an organisation sprang up in the Hunter region of Australia called the Hunter Valley Genuine Working Wineries Association. Its members were irritated that cellar doors were opening in the region that pretended to be wineries, but were really nothing more than shops. It was short-lived, but an interesting idea.

Smaller wineries often out-source part of their production. This is especially common with sparkling wines. They make the base-wine themselves and send it off to a specialist who puts the fizz in it – the specialist has the equipment and know-how to perform the tirage, maturation, riddling and disgorgement.

The names on our list are wine producers. If we use the word ‘winery’ loosely, it’s a reflection of common parlance.

We know of restaurants named The Winery. Should they be shut down? At least they sell wine