A micro-winery is a small wine producer that usually does not have a vineyard, and instead sources its grape products from outside suppliers. The concept is similar to a microbrewery, in that small batches of product are made primarily for local consumption. A micro-winery uses similar wine-making equipment as a major commercial winery, just on a smaller scale. Glass carboys and sanitary plastic pails are often seen in the facilities of a micro-winery. Typically, each batch of wine yields 23 Liters (6 US gallons or about 30 bottles of wine).One of the primary differences of a micro-winery as compared to a typical winery is that a micro-winery is able to offer a wider range of wines and on a year round basis because it is not tied to the grapes it grows.
The urban winery is a recent phenomenon whereby a wine producer chooses to locate their winemaking facility in an urban setting within a city rather than in the traditional rural setting near the vineyards. With advances in technology and transportation, it is not a problem for an urban winery to grow grapes in a remote location and then transport them to the urban facility for processing if so desired, but many are micro-wineries that rely on technology instead of agriculture for their ingredients. Urban wineries have been opened in cities across the United States including San Francisco; Sacramento; Portland, Oregon; Seattle; Frederick, Maryland; New York; Cincinnati; San Diego, Los Angeles and even one in Kill Devil Hills, NC.
Wine aficionados traditionally had to travel to remote areas to learn about winemaking firsthand and to taste the offerings of a wine producer in the setting in which they were made. Now, many urban dwellers can hop in their car for a short drive or bike and even walk, and have an authentic winery experience. Many urban wineries offer production tours and a tasting room for this purpose and often retail sales of their wines. This allows the consumer to sample the wine and purchase directly from the source ensuring that wines have been stored correctly and not subjected to extreme conditions that can occur in transport and storage which require additional preservatives and can result in spoiled wines.
A few urban wineries offer their customers winemaking supplies and instruction to make their own wine. Amateur winemakers can choose the grape varieties, select an appellation, make production decisions along the way and then bottle and even design their own labels. This has spawned a new generation of boutique wines that are available in micro quantities as small as 30 bottles.