Above all in the French Saint-Émilion (Bordeaux) in the 1990s created designation for special wines (french Vin de garage or also Vin de salon), which are produced in smallest quantities of often only a few hundred cases or few thousand bottles. These wineries are also called "Garagiste" or "Micro-Château" here, although not all of them are necessarily small. The term garage wine is not to be understood literally. It is derived from the computer industry, where from the 1970s onwards, small companies (such as Apple, Microsoft and INTEL) produced high-quality, innovative products in simply equipped premises and actually in garages. These were called "garage companies" and founded the boom in California's "Silicon Valley". Garage wines are characterized by the lowest yields from often very old vineyards, strictest manual selection of the highly ripe grapes, barrique maturation in 100% new barrique barrels and no or only gentle filtration. As a rule, these are full-bodied and alcohol-rich red wines of the highest quality, whereby the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (also single-variety) grape varieties are frequently used.
In the meantime, the term has been extended to include special wines from normal châteaux. Well-known producers of garage wines in France are Château Le Pin (Pomerol), Château Marojallia (Margaux), Château Canon-La-Gaffelière and Château Valandraud (Saint-Émilion). The French oenologist Michel Rolland (*1947) was often active as a consultant. In the USA, this includes the "Sine qua non" operations of Austrian-born Manfred Krankl and Screaming Eagle. Here, wine growers (gentleman farmers) accept the extremely low yield at great financial expense. Similarly, a very similar wine culture developed in Israel in the 1980s, where these products are called "boutique wines". It is no coincidence that the garage wines are very often among the most expensive wines in the world with fancy prices. The term cult wine has a similar meaning, although it is more likely to refer to long-established wines from well-known wineries.