What makes small-batch winemaking special?

A small house in the middle of a vineyard
Small-batch winemaking brings diversity and uniqueness to the wine industry. It is an artisanal style in which small producers create wines that celebrate the grape varieties, vintage, and microclimate. The result? Wines that wear their terroir proudly.  

Small-batch wines are different to commercial wines in many ways. Commercial wines often have a well-known brand name. As a result, wine lovers expect them to have a consistent taste. Once they know that they like a commercial wine, they want to have a similar experience every time they open a bottle with that label on it.  

To meet that desire, commercial and large-scale winemakers need to blend away individuality for consistency at times. Rather than embracing the cards that nature has dealt them in a particular vintage, they may blend and manipulate each batch of wine to deliver a taste that is consistent with the one that came before it.

On the other hand, small-batch winemakers have a lot more freedom. They get to revel in the unique character of their grapes from season to season and express themselves in every bottle that they produce. 

They have a small parcel of grapes to work with, which means that there is a greater financial risk if the harvest doesn’t work out. This can bring a slightly higher price tag to small-batch wines. However, it also drives quality, creativity, and innovation.  

A focus on quality over quantity

Small-batch winemakers have smaller vineyard areas, grow fewer wines, and produce smaller quantities. That means that they have to give their vineyards lots of care and attention. They’re not under intense pressure to mass-produce and sell as quickly as possible. They’re more driven by celebrating nature’s ingenuity and helping their grapes to reach their full potential.  

Since there are fewer grapes grown in their vineyard, each one is also able to absorb more nutrients and has more time to develop its complete flavour profile. While these wines are harder to get, they also feel rare and ethereal. As they say, nothing good lasts forever and small-batch wines embrace change. 

Grounded in nature

Two people smiling and holding grapes in a vineyard
Grapes on a vine with the blue sky in the background

Small-batch winemakers aren’t always under pressure to conform to a region’s standard. They get to express their family history, microclimate, and unique style. 

Small-batch winemakers aren’t always under pressure to conform to a region’s standard. They get to express their family history, microclimate, and unique style. They’re also more focused on highlighting what nature deals them season to season, this means that they can experiment with variations in weather, rather than trying to resist them.  

By being in tune with nature’s rhythms, they can use minimal intervention winemaking techniques, which are far less resource intensive. They will often use less man-made resources and fuel, minimal sulphur to preserve their wines, and avoid pesticides and chemicals that ultimately deteriorate their soil. They have the freedom to play with their profit margins to maintain the quality of their land and their wines. 

Small-batch wine makes the economy resillient

Not everyone can be “big” and small-batch producers give wine lovers a greater variety of options. They are experimental and often test new varietals that they can continue to sell in the future. 

In Australia, small winemakers collectively sell an estimated $1.3 billion in wine, accounting for 35 per cent of total domestic sales value and 10 per cent of export sales value. They also employ on average nearly nine people, five of whom are usually full-time employees.

Small-batch winemakers bring more resilience and diversity into local economies, and we think that’s a great thing.  

Two people picking grapes

Impermanence is beautiful

Small-batch winemakers embrace what nature gives them from season to season. You might find a vintage that you love, only for the bottles to eventually run out and for you to never taste that exact flavour again.  

However, that’s what makes small-batch wines so special. They encourage us to enjoy the moment and embrace the possibilities of what might come next.