Wine Glossary

ABV/Alcohol: (Alcohol By Volume): The percentage of alcohol in a beverage.

Acidity: The main acids found in wine including malic and tartaric acids. When we drink wine, we can detect acidity on the sides of our tongue.

Aging: The process of cellaring a wine by keeping it in a cool, dark place over time.

Anthocyanin: Pigments in grape skin and that give it color.

Appellation: A geographical area with designated boundaries that adheres to specific wine laws.

Aroma: The pleasant smell of wine.

Balance: The relationship between acid, sugar, alcohol, weight, tannins, and other criteria that shapes the total taste of a wine.

Barrel: A wooden vessel, most commonly made from French or American oak, in which wine is fermented and/or aged.

Blend: Wine made from multiple grape varieties.

Body: The overall richness and weight of a wine

Bouquet: The smell of a wine after fermentation, specialized wine-making techniques, and/or aging.

Carbonic Maceration: A wine-making technique in which grapes are fermented by the addition of Carbon Dioxide before they are crushed. This technique makes a lighter, fruitier style of wine.

Chaptalization: The addition of sugar to grape juice for the purposes of increasing the alcohol output during fermentation.

Clarification: The process of removing matter from a wine before bottling.

Clarity: How well light is transmitted, or reflected through a glass of wine.

Climate: The weather conditions in a region or vineyard area of over a long period of time.

Cold Maceration: The process of lowering the temperature of wine to further extract color and flavor compounds.

Color: The shade or hue of a wine that can be indicative of the grape variety, wine-making technique, age, etc.

Concrete Vessels: Stone vats or “eggs” used to hold wine.

Condition: The state or health of a wine, i.e. clear or hazy.

Continentality: The difference in temperatures between the heights of winter and summer.

Côtes: The French word meaning “slopes.”

Crémant: Sparkling wine from France made outside of the Champagne region.

Crianza: A Spanish wine law designation to indicate a wine has been aged for a total of 24 months, with 6 months in barrel.

Crossing: A new grape variety created by the cross-pollination of two varieties from the same species.

Cru: A high quality vineyard or group of vineyards.

Crushing: The breaking of grapes to allow the juice, pulp, and seeds to mix together.

Deacidification: The process to lessen the acid in a wine.

Decanting: The process of pouring wine from its original bottle into a glass vessel or decanter.

De-stemming: The process of removing the berries from the stems once the grapes have been harvested and brought into the winery.

Development: The process in which a wine displays flavors that emerge after aging for a period of time in the bottle.

Disgorgement: The process that ejects the sediment under the force of the pressure in the bottle, mainly used in sparkling wine styles.

Extraction: The process of drawing out flavor, tannin and color from a grape.

Fermentation: A wine-making process in which yeast turn grape sugars into alcohol.

Fining: The removal of unwanted matter in a wine.

Finish: The amount of time that pleasant wine flavors linger in one’s mouth after the wine is tasted.

Flavors: The fruity, earthy, leathery, floral, herbal, mineral, and woodsy notes present in wine (this list is not exhaustive).

Food Pairing: The process of pairing food and wine to enhance the flavors of a wine.

Fortification: The process of adding distilled spirit, usually Brandy, to a wine.

Free Run Juice: The first phase of juice created as soon as a grape is split open.

Frost: The deposit of ice crystals on the surface of grape vines, buds, flowers, and other surfaces in a vineyard during cooler seasons.

Fruit Set: The stage of vine growth when berries begin to form.

Grafting: A technique that joins the tissues of two grape vines together so they continue to grow as one plant.

Grape: A grape used for making wine, usually of the European Vitis Vinifera species.

Growing Environment: The conditions in and around a vineyard that impact the development of a grape.

Hand-harvesting: A manual process in which grapes are picked by hand instead of machines.

Heat: The warmth grape vines need in order to grow successfully. The amount of heat can impact the amount of sugars that develop in a grape.

Hybrid: A grape variety that is the product of a crossing of two or more grape species.

Icewine: A sweet, concentrated wine made from grapes that were frozen on the vine.

Intensity: The concentration of aromas and flavors of a wine.

Irrigation: A technique in which a controlled amount of water is applied to grape vines. This is common in regions that experience little natural rainfall.

Late Bottle Vintage (LBV): A special category of Port in which the wine is aged 4-6 years before bottling.

Legs: The droplets that form on the sides of the wine glass due to the presence of sugar and alcohol.

Length: The amount of time that pleasant wine flavors linger in one’s mouth after the wine is tasted (see finish).

Maceration: The process of leaving red wine in contact with skins, stalks and seeds after fermentation has finished in order extract additional color and flavor compounds.

Machine Harvesting: The process by which grapes are picked from a vineyard by machine, as opposed to by hand.

Malic Acid: An acid found in grapes that decreases as the berry ripens.

Malolactic Fermentation/Conversion (MLF): A process in which tart/harsh malic acid in wine is converted into creamier lactic acid. This process happens naturally with the bacteria present in a wine unless it is averted by the winemaker.

Maturation: The period between the end of fermentation and bottling whereby the wine is clarified, stabilized and stored.

Mousse: The level of “sparkle” on the tongue that a sparkling wine creates.

Must: Freshly crushed unfermented grape juice that contains the pulps, seeds and stems.

Natural Wines: Wines made with very little human intervention, relatively speaking.

Noble Rot: A fungus that grows on certain grapes that aids in making a style of sweet wine.

Nose: The aroma and bouquet of a wine.

Oxidation: The process in which wines are exposed to oxygen. In many cases, this process is deliberate to create specific flavors.

Nutrients: The chemical elements and compounds necessary for plant growth and reproduction.

Passerillage: A process in which grapes are air-dried and shriveled after harvest to increase their sugar concentration.

Pulp: The fleshy part of a grape that contains water, sugar, and acid.

Press: A device used to squeeze the juice out of grapes.

Pruning: The cutting of grape vine branches, shoots, and leaves in order to control grape growth and production for the following year.

Rack and Return: The process of transferring wine from one vessel to another, such as from tank to barrel, and then returning it to re-soak the wine.

Rainfall: The amount of rain a vineyard receives to successfully grow a grape vine.

Readiness (for drinking): The determination of whether a wine is too young, ready to drink, or past its prime.

Red Wine: Wine made from pigmented black grapes that creates various shades of purple to brown.

Reduction: The process by which a wine-maker limits the amount of oxygen a wine is exposed to in order to preserve the primary flavors of the grape.

Riddling: The gradual tilting and rotating of a wine bottle, neck down, to force sediment into the neck of the bottle.

Ripening: The process in which a grape decreases in acid and increases in sugar, and is soon ready for harvest.

Rosé: A pink wine that incorporates some of the color from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine.

Semi-Carbonic Maceration: The whole-bunch grape fermentation process without the addition of Carbon Dioxide to the fermenting tank. The grapes split under weighted pressure and juice is released.

Sherry: A fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain.

Simple: A description given to wine that has a limited number of flavor characteristics.

Skins: The outer layer of a grape responsible for flavor compounds, color and tannin in wine.

Soil: The mineral or organic material on the immediate surface of the Earth that serves as a natural bed for the grape-growing.

Sparkling: A wine with significant amounts of Carbon Dioxide that makes it “fizzy.”

Sunlight: The natural light that gives grape vines the energy for photosynthesis.

Sweetness: The amount of sugar present in a wine.

Tank: Vessels used to ferment or store wine.

Tannins: Polyphenols, or astringent chemical compounds found in grape skins that result in a cottony mouthfeel when one eats grapes or drinks wine.

Tears: The droplets that form on the side of the wine glass due to the presence of sugar and alcohol.

Terroir: “Sense of place” that speaks to the climate, soil, and other environmental factors that make a specific area or vineyard unique.

Toast: 1. A flavor produced in a wine after it undergoes autolysis. 2. The level of heat and fire applied to wine barrels to create secondary flavors in wine.

Varietal: Wine made from a single variety of grape (also see “blend”).

Umami: The savory or meaty taste of foods.

Vat: A large container, tub or tank used for storing wine.

Vessel: A container that holds wine.

Vineyard: A plantation of grapevines usually used for wine-making.

Vino: Italian red wine.

Vintage: The year in which grapes were harvested.

Weight: The presence of sugar and alcohol in a wine that gives it a heavier “body.”

White Wine: Clear wine made from white or black grapes.

Yeast: The species of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae used to transform grape sugar into alcohol.

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