When you discover Oklahoma vineyards, visit wineries, or shop at local stores, you have the perfect opportunity to enjoy high-quality wines. You may notice a wine with “estate,” “estate-bottled,” or “single vineyard” on its label. While these terms seem similar, their differences give you insight into the winemaking process and growing grapes in Oklahoma.
Understanding Wine Label terms
What are Single Vineyard Wines?
If a wine is “single vineyard,” all of its grapes came from one vineyard. When you buy a single vineyard wine and learn more about its winery and Oklahoma vineyard, you can know exactly where every part of the winemaking process took place. Because there are some overlaps in the definitions, “estate” and “estate-bottled” wines can also be considered single vineyard wines.
What are Estate Wines?
A wine may be labeled as “estate.” While this has a broad definition, it generally means that the same winery, producer, or other entity controlled the entire grape-growing and winemaking process.
What Are Estate-Bottled Wines?
The term “estate-bottled” has a more formal definition, and the wines are required to meet certain criteria. A producer must make and produce the wine at their winery. The producer must also own or control the vineyard. Additionally, the vineyard and winery have to be in the same viticultural area.
Growing Grapes in Oklahoma for Single Vineyard Wines
The winemaking concept of “terroir” is very important for single vineyard wines because it affects the flavor, aroma, and taste. This French term loosely translates to “sense of place,” meaning that the vineyard’s topography, temperature, climate, and soil affect the finished wine.
The vineyard’s topography includes its altitude, slope, and any nearby physical features. Each element of the topography can affect the wine. For example, the slope affects how well the area drains and the amount of sunlight that is able to reach the grapes.
This factor refers to the average temperature of an area over time. The general temperature of a region affects how grapes grow. For example, grapes grown in warmer areas ripen easily, leading to dark wines with low acidity and high sugar. In contrast, grapes grown in cooler areas take more time to ripen, leading to subtle wines with low alcohol and crisp acidity.
In addition to considering the average temperature over time, a region’s climate affects the wine. Various weather factors play a role in how grapes grow and develop, including:
While a region’s climate is usually determined by its geographic location, sub-regions may have unique microclimates.
Grapevines get nutrients from the soil where they are grown, so soil composition can significantly affect the wine’s flavor. For example:
- Sandy soils generally lead to drier wines.
- Clay-based soils generally lead to bold wines.
The soil’s specific details lead to more differences. For example, the drainage level alters the grapes’ moisture content. The soil color can affect the grapes by reflecting or absorbing heat.
Discover Oklahoma Vineyards
Schedule a trip to a vineyard or winery to see where some of your favorite wines are produced. Get in touch to learn more about Oklahoma wines and to discover Oklahoma vineyards.