Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Is there a difference between a “single vineyard” and a “vineyard designate” wine? Or are they two terms for the same thing?
They are two terms for the same thing: a wine made from grapes that all came from one vineyard. Single-vineyard wines are not necessarily better, but they certainly indicate a confidence that the wine is at least distinctive.
Blending grapes from multiple vineyards gives a winemaker more tools to create a consistent style or make up for a weak vintage, but single-vineyard wines can be more transparent when it comes to observing vintage variation. Keep in mind that if a wine lists a vineyard on the label, U.S. law dictates that at least 95 percent of the grapes used to make it came from that site.