The Single Vineyard Impact


In browsing the wine aisle in your local store, you may have noticed the term Single Vineyard on the label of a bottle and wondered what that meant. The term Single Vineyard on a bottle is a way of telling you that the grapes used to make this wine were all from one vineyard site. This is an indication of quality and a sign of all of the elements required to successfully produce stellar grapes are present in this vineyard site (soil, microclimate, and geography- the terroir).


Single Vineyard expressions of wine are a treat and not something that all winemakers can afford to do consistently or period. Wineries will generally have vineyards in multiple locations and, in turn, take the grapes from these different sites to make the wines in your glass. This is necessary for many and acts as a protected force field against mother nature and other acts that could devastate a vineyard site. So in these cases, if one vineyard site has extremely low yields due to hail, they've got others to make up for the loss.


Expressing terroir to this length is not new in old-world wine regions. In fact, the story of the origins of the Cru's in Burgundy was terroir-driven, where monks established areas and noted regional differences in grape expressions, soils, and microclimates.


In the new world, we see more and more serious producers with a single vineyard expression in their wine offering, and I think that is where we need to go. New world wine regions all have differing levels of global mind-share and differing hero wines. I firmly believe that to express the world-class wines some of the younger wine regions can produce, putting forth wines that express place is necessary.


But... like with everything, there is fine print included in this Single Vineyard topic. It is possible for a winemaker to source the wines from a specific location and have no control over the growing practices or not be familiar with them. While this is not the majority, in my experience, it does make knowing the winemaker and their philosophy a good thing.


What you get with single-vineyard wines is a specific sense of place (geography), and I think that matters to the consumer and elevates a wine when trying to stand out in such a competitive market.


After all, Single Vineyard should remind you of maybe a time and for sure a place, and who does not want to be swept away to Tuscany one sip at a time.