What's the difference between a domaine and a château?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is the difference between a "domaine" and a "château"?

—Howard B., via the Internet

Dear Howard,

Hundreds of wine brands out there have either "château" or "domaine" in their names (and a few even have both). Often they're used interchangeably to refer to a place where wine is made. If you're looking for a more nuanced answer, château is the French term for a country house or castle, and is most commonly used by the wineries of Bordeaux, while the term domaine, which refers to a territory or empire, is typically associated with the wineries of Burgundy. Remember, though, that in most countries there are no legal restrictions on the use of these terms, so there may not be an actual, physical "château" at all ... much less a "domaine."

—Dr. Vinny

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