Bonded is a term heard frequently in the wine world, thanks to the high number of new wineries coming online each year.
It is the process wineries must go through to be legalized to sell wine. We’ve defined the term “Garagistas” which are small-scale wine operations where people make wine in their garage (hence the name) or similar small storage space. If these winemakers want to sell their wine to the public, they need to go through a process to legally be able to do so.
Being a bonded winery means the business has met the requirements of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. A bonded wine cellar is a bonded storage warehouse established to store, blend, or bottle untaxpaid wine — but not produce it.
Two years ago when we started this blog there were 600-plus bonded wineries in Washington. That number continues to climb and current estimates show there are now more than 750-plus bonded wineries. They can be as small as only producing a few hundred cases to the large-scale producers like Chateau Ste. Michelle.