Boutique wine: what is it & how is it made

Boutique wine

Boutique wine

“Boutique” is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. Like bespoke, cutting-edge or holistics, it is a word that has nearly surpassed all meaning and become just another word to describe anything from hotels to hardware.

But, our friends, we must implore you: this is not the case when it comes to wine. There is, actually, a definition for wine that carries this title, and it is a drop that is produced in fewer than 10,000 cases annually.

This, of course, gives the label an artisanal, specially-crafted air, and that’s because it is exactly what it is!

But it doesn’t stop there, as there are many other reasons why this special vino is so desirable, and so read on to find out why:

Let’s define

Boutique wines are those made by a niche producer creating a highly specialised drop. They are, essentially, limited editions, along the lines of a rare Aston Martin or a crystal Charizard Pokemon card. They are artisanal handcrafted wonder bottles, personalised with love from growing through to bottling.

Once the winery has been established, the vines’ clone and root selection are made to suit the soil type and water availability. Harvesting is then perfectly timed, with winemakers following a systematic barrel ageing process. Each step of the process is designed to enhance the drop’s beauty, with no process partaking as a method to simply get the drop in the bottle.

They start with special vineyards

One key characteristic that differentiates these vinos from their counterparts is the vineyard’s size. The soil structure is a key determiner for a vineyard, but the vineyard’s spread can also define its spacing.

A vineyard producing these specialised drops will pay attention to each and every vine. The winemakers till the soil only occasionally so that the soil’s nutrients are themselves little toiled which, consequently, preserves their microorganisms. This means that the flavours are found deep within the vine’s root system, making them integral to the drop’s overall flavour.

Many producers follow highly sustainable growing and production techniques to attract birds and insects, which is attributed to the vino’s overall production standard.

The harvest

Harvest times are very carefully considered when producing this type of wine. They are designed to ensure that all grapes are plucked from their vines at peak ripeness, with producers taking good care of the vines throughout the whole season, checking their acid and sugar leaves to ensure that are the perfect ripeness for picking before being sent for production.

Producers will then go on to decide whether each vine is personally ready for picking, with variation depending on the plant’s soil structure, moisture and stress level. Once the grapes are ready to go, they will be handpicked to produce the fine drops that can be found in bars and bottle shops across Australia.

These specialised harvesting practices are what differentiates this production technique from other, mass-produced styles, which will rarely pay attention to the health and ripeness of each individual vine (if at all!).

Production time

It is time to produce, a process which begins with avoiding over-extraction, extended fermentation and avoiding over-ripeness, something which creates poor flavour and a high alcohol content (something that is contradictory to the nature of boutique production).

The grapes will then be gently handled, aged in the right barrels, before being carefully produced to provide an outstanding tasting experience that separates these special wines from their mass-produced counterparts!

Marion Perdomo

Marion Perdomo