What Is Certified Craft Wine?

Craft wine is distinctly American wine.

Yes, we have expressions of classic grapes and blends that stand toe-to-toe with the best in the world, but they are our expressions. We do some pretty unique things too, but then again, inventiveness comes with the territory.

The Craft Wine Association proudly supports small production, handmade wines born from the heart and soul of the producer. These wines are a reflection of the hands that made them and the communities where they live. Some of it is traditional, some unique, all of it Craft.

Obtaining certification is one way for you as a small producer to distinguish yourself in a crowded marketplace. It sends the message that your uniqueness is intentional and celebrated. While much of the wine industry may be trapped in the conversation of what wine should be, as a craft producer, you follow your own expression of what wine can be.

We are here to support you and celebrate what makes your wine special.

The designation of Certified Craft Wine is awarded to member wineries who qualify. Certified Craft Wine is a commercially available, limited-production wine most commonly in production runs of 5,000 cases or fewer. However, it’s not just about size: authenticity and traceability are key components as well. Wines must be authentic and traceable to their roots: producers that buy grapes need to know the source of their fruit to qualify for this designation.

The Certified Craft Wine designation was created to support family-owned, community wineries.   Such wineries are found across the United States in well-known wine-producing regions, urban centers, and unexpected places.  One thing they all have in common is their passion for hand-crafted, artisan wine.


An Identifiable Winemaker

Lovers of Craft Wine want to know who you are. We are not looking for wine that is produced in bulk without being lead by the heart and soul of the wine maker. Your winery should have a single winemaker or small team of winemakers leading the production of your wines from start to finish. This includes from your fruit selection to the final blend.


Fruits From a Known Source

Craft Wine lovers want to know where your fruit comes from. They care about sourcing of all of their food. Generic fruit which can't be traced back to the source does not qualify.


Limited Production

Your wine should be produced in lots smaller than 5,000 cases. (If your entire winery production is under 5,000 cases, discounts may apply.) Wines made by pre-prescribed protocols, meaning formula-made wines that follow a pre-designated process rather than the leading of the winemaker do not qualify. Pre-made bulk wine or "shiners" do not qualify even with a bottling run under 5,000 cases.


Craft Wine is American Wine

The Craft Wine Association is a membership organization all about helping you—the owners, vintners and winemakers of small production wineries—succeed. We have been making a difference for small wineries across the country since 2016.

Consumer demand is an important part of this equation so we have been working hard to develop a consumer market for Craft Wine, your wine. As of September 2019, the hashtag #craftwine was used over 35,000 times by wine consumers on social media over 30 days, 20,000 times on Instagram alone. As recently as 2017, that number was near zero.

We help you realize your most important goals and help develop unique opportunities for you to reach them. If you feel like you are in an uphill battle, it is not just your imagination. A Washington University study shows just how difficult the challenge you have taken on as a small independent winery. In fact, if you are a winery under 5,000 cases, economies of scale work against you. You are likely paying 25-50% more per case to produce your wine as a winery producing 20,000 cases.

We are here to help with that. One of our goals is to help close that economies of scale gap. We do that through the discounts and benefits our sponsors offer to Craftwine.org members and the partnerships we create.

With years of experience and unmatched credentials, our association is uniquely equipped to develop creative solutions that help you. Our goal is to make a significant and lasting impact on the wine industry for the benefit of our members.

“The Craft Wine Certification is important because it helps tell our story. Above all else, we are a small family farm. We care about how our grapes are grown because this is where our children live and play. How we cultivate is important because it directly impacts the environment around us. From the garden where we grow vegetables, to the animals we raise and our neighbors who create this community, what we do in the vineyard has a profound impact.”

Elaina Spring, Woven Wineworks