What’s the Difference Between “Château” and “Domaine”?

When studying various wine labels, have you ever wondered: what’s the difference between “Château” and “Domaine"? We're here to shed light on the specific differences. Make sure to take our fun quiz at the end to discover what your winery name would be! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ BY KEDAR BERNTSON What’s the difference between “Château” and “Domaine"? The difference is largely geographic and historical. Back when France still had nobility, “château” referred to the feudal castles and mansions in which the noble class summered. These were big, illustrious houses that sat on a lot of land—often, wine producing land. And the families who controlled these vineyards would give the name of their wine the prefix “château” in order to call upon their prestige and wealth. Later, noting the success this had, and wanting a piece of it, smaller, château-less estates began doing the same. In time, the word “château” became so synonymous with winemaking that now, when one is talking about wine and mentions a château, they are referring to an estate which is specifically devoted to winemaking and not the big, fancy house. “Domaine” has a very similar definition. In French, it means territory, and in French wine, it refers a place which is specifically devoted to winemaking—like “château.” It just doesn’t have the etymological ties to fancy summer houses. Nor does it have the same geographic specification. With some exceptions, châteaux are found in the Bordeaux region and domaines in Burgundy. That doesn’t mean there are not domaines in Bordeaux or châteaux in Burgundy. The nomenclature is used with varying degrees of indiscrimination around France and the rest of the wine-making world (with some winemakers valuing a higher degree of etymological fidelity than others). But more often than not, the two designations stay within their borders. That’s because the use of “château” is intended to preserve particular traditions and standards in French viticulture. As of May 2012, there are three requirements a French estate must meet in order to receive the title (though much to the chagrin of French winemakers, these requirements are not universal; California châteaux are tantalizingly out of this jurisdiction): 1. The wine in question must be included in any of the French wine appellations (AOP). 2. The grapes used in the wine production should have been picked on the estate (not purchased from outside). 3. The wine must have been produced on the estate which also gives the claim "Mise en Bouteille au Château" (bottled in the castle). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Regardless of whether you’re partial to châteaux from Bordeaux or favor a good domaine from Burgundy, we’ve created a fun little (non-scientific) quizlet to help you determine what your winery’s name would be! Remember to @ us with your winery name here and on socials, or add #delectableapp. 1. Choose a Vacation Destination: FRANCE: CHÂTEAU SPAIN: BODEGAS PORTUGAL: CASA ITALY: FATTORIA GERMANY: WEINGUT NEW ZEALAND: DOMAINE CALIFORNIA: WINERY* AUSTRALIA: VINEYARD* SOUTH AFRICA: ESTATE* *Add at the end + 2. Your Favorite Celebrity's First Name + 3. Your Favorite Author's Last Name = Your Winery Name

Château Montrose

Saint-Estèphe Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 1995

As said elsewhere here we love Chateau Montrose. This 95 is less good than the 96 and its been consistent in the last decade or so. Has a dollop more acidity and a dollop less fruit. Drinking really well now but I wonder if its going to stick for much longer. Might just be a slightly off bottle. We will drink up. — 5 years ago

Adriana Pagliano
with Adriana
Severn, Anthony and 3 others liked this

Château Giscours

Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend 1990

Took a while to open up, but a stellar Margaux to celebrate 27 years of marriage! Dried herbs and black fruit on open. Developed into scents of dark chocolate. Mid-palate of black fruit, anise and a touch of tobacco. The finish is full of raspberry and dried plums — 5 years ago

Chad Anderson
with Chad
P, Ryan and 30 others liked this
Kimberly Anderson

Kimberly Anderson

@Stephen Pierron Waterford Wine Company in Milwaukee
Stephen Pierron

Stephen Pierron

Thank you @Kimberly Anderson !!! I didn't see it on their website, but may have to call! Glad you enjoyed Giscours! Definitely visit the Château if you ever have the chance!
Stephen Pierron

Stephen Pierron

@Kimberly Anderson Congratulations to you and your husband on 27 years!

Jean-Marc Brocard

Domaine Sainte Claire Chablis Chardonnay 2018

Fresh, rich and compex with green apple, jasmine, apricot, tangerine and stony minerals. It drinks nicely this young actually. — 5 years ago

Severn liked this

Château Climens

Barsac 1er Cru Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend 2005

Bought a case of this by mistake on release and have enjoyed it bottle by bottle for the last 15 years. A gem. — 5 years ago

Eric, P and 27 others liked this
John Howard

John Howard Influencer Badge

One of the all time best late harvest wines.
Eric Urbani

Eric Urbani Influencer Badge

@John Howard totally agree. Not cloying in any way - pairs amazingly well with foie gras FYI

Château Suduiraut

Sauternes Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend 2001

I just love this wine. The 2001 is in perfect shape right now. Sweet and soft and elegant. Great way to end a meal. — 5 years ago

David, Ira and 29 others liked this

Domaine Tempier

Bandol Rosé Blend 2018

So pretty. Candied orange rind, strawberry, herbs de Provence, salmon color and great acid. We revisited for another glass, Yum! — 5 years ago

Ira and Severn liked this

Domaine de Montbourgeau

Brut Crémant du Jura Chardonnay

Yellow apples/pear, sourdough, almonds, like zest, white flowers, oyster shells. Snapping acidity, lively compact bubbles, minimal froth, crisp dry finish. Aromatics were somewhat shy at first, palate is angular, linear persistent chalky energy. — 6 years ago

Daniel P., Vijay and 1 other liked this

Château Ausone

Saint Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend 2005

Polished & balanced that is tight & structured. Just needs more time. — 5 years ago

Shay, Keith and 20 others liked this
David T

David T Influencer Badge

🎯 fantastic!

Château Simone

Palette White Rhone Blend 2014

Lyle Fass

One of my favorite whites in the world. Nose starts out flinty with little fruit but as all fans of this wine know it unfurls. Some light yellow fruits and intriguing minerality. Palate is unreal. Intense and structured almost like a red wine. So pure and clean. Balance is extraordinary and it’s very young. Chewy and dense and some of the classic Simone Blanc flavors emerge on the very long finish. Like a lanolin nuttiness. So long and so persistent. — 5 years ago

Steven, Steve and 14 others liked this

Domaine Jamet

Côte-Rôtie Syrah 2016

Yes, you can still see some new oak in the wine, but it doesn't detract from how elegant the 16' Jamet Cote-Rotie is. The wine is incredibly detailed at this point and such a joy to sip on. Very perfumed nose, which evolved rapidly in the glass with air - fresh mix of red and black fruits, licorice, cedar, spice (garam masala comes to mind), violets, hints of olive and leather. The palate is so fine and juicy with silky tannins and just enough acidity to keep you going. Long and focused finish, saturated in minerality and florals. Absolutely irresistible at the moment, but I can definitely see the rewards in cellaring this. — 5 years ago

P, Alex and 21 others liked this