Wine Glossary

One of the naturally occurring acids in wine and other foods, responsible for the sour taste in vinegar. In a healthy wine, the concentrations of this volatile acid are undetectably low. However, overexposure to oxygen can feed the transformation of alcohol into acetic acid and the result is an unpleasantly sour wine often described as acetic.
Term used pejoritively to describe a wine with too much acidity.
A wine-making practice whereby acids are added to a wine in order to correct a deficiency thereof. When necessary, tartaric acid is most commonly added before fermentation to allow for a more seamless final product. Wine regions usually have regulations regarding acidification.
Acidity is a crucial and quantifiable element of wine, resulting from the sum of the fixed and volatile acids. It is a factor in determining the quality of the wine because of the direct relationship between a wine's acidity and its balance, color preservation and inhibition of bacterial growth. Too much acidity makes a wine overly tart and too little makes a wine flat, watery and often is referred to as "flabby".
Natural component of grapes and wine, predominantly tartaric, malic and lactic acids. Responsible for tartness, necessary for a wine's inherent balance and in preventing the growth of unwanted bacteria.
Indicates the foul, rotten egg odor resulting from the addition of too much sulfur dioxide during vinification. Sulfur is used to prevent spoilage of grapes and juice and helps keep wine-making machines clean.
During wine-making, the controlled exposure of juice/wine to the air in order to give the yeasts proper amounts of oxygen, thus promoting fermentation. Limited contact with the air also occurs during racking, with barrel aging and is also beneficial for many wines just before serving. Overexposure to oxygen at any point in a wine's life can result in oxidation or undesirable concentrations of acetic acid.
Term used to indicate the flavors which linger on the palate after a wine is swallowed. The duration of the aftertaste and it's qualities are a quality measurement.
Indicates a wine which has the necessary acid, sugar, tannin and flavor profile to warrant cellaring.
Adjective used to describe a wine made harsh by excessive tannins or acids.
This is the practice which distinguishes wine from most other beverages. The stocking of wine in oak barrels or bottles in order to promote a balance and complexity of flavors.The external environment, particularly the temperature and the humidity, of storage is critical and must be monitored and maintained. Not all wines benefit from aging, and it also increases costs for a winery.
Ancient Greek red variety which means St. George grown in the Nemea valley of Peloponnese. Can vary dramatically in quality based on th e altitude where the vines are located. The higher the altitude the better the acidity.
Brought to southern Italy by the Greeks, this high quality variety gives fame to the wines of Taurasi and Aglianico del Vulture of Campania. It likes sunny, arid climates, preferring the cool of elevation to the heat of the plains. Powerfully tannic when young, it must see years in the cellar before release. Aged, Aglianico has wonderfully balanced fruit and an almost tar-like character.
Town of the Piedmonte region of Northwest Italy regarded as its capital of red wine and white truffles.
The generic name for ethanol. Indigenous and added yeasts convert the sugars in the grape juice into alcohol. A wine high in alcohol will seem hot and heavy bodied, whereas a lower alcohol wine will seem light.
This is a legally required tabulation of the percentage of alcohol by volume in a bottle of wine. Most table wines are between 11 and 14% alcohol.
From the latin "fervere" to boil. Wine fermentation is the anaerobic metabolism of yeast which converts sugar into ethanol. Carbon dioxide bubbles out during fermentation could easily make the juice look as if it is boiling.
The adjective used to describe a wine with perceptibly high alcohol content. Wine is an alcoholic beverage.
A specific oak forest in France with world famous quality wood for barrel making.
The north-east region of Italy in Trentino which borders Austria known for clean, crisp white wines comparable in terms of value to the wines of Fruili.
Oak grown in American forests for the production of barrels, becoming more popular because it is less expensive than French Oak. The flavor profiles imparted by barrels made from American oak is different from French oak barrels, namely characterized by stronger vanilla, coconut and cinnamon flavors.
A geographically defined area designated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for grape-growing.
The science of identifying and describing the world's grape vine species called vitis.
Phenolic compounds which naturally pigment red and black grapes as well as their tannins. Interestingly, these pigments are effected by the acidity of the grape juice. The higher the pH, the more intense the red or purple color.
Beverages served prior to a meal to stimulate the appetite. In the case of wine in the states, usually a dry, fairly acidic white wine is used.
Judgement of the wine's clarity. Terms such as clear, brilliant, dull, hazy and cloudy all pertain.
The international term used to define where the grapes of a particular wine were grown. Napa, Sicily, Barossa Valley are all appellations.
French for Controlled Origin Appellation. This is the French system of naming their most highly regarded viticultural areas, and has served as the benchmark for every other country's appellation systems. Those who attempt to make a wine with an AOC designation must adhere to strict regulations concerning the grape varieties, ripeness and alcohol level, yields, as well as the viticultural and vinification methods. There are of course advantages and disadvantages to this system.
An endangered variety which grows exclusively in Italy's Piedmont region where it produces crisp, full white wines with autumn fruit flavors.
The pleasant smells associated with younger wines, not to be confused with the term bouquet which applies to the smells of complexity in aged wines.
A circular chart developed by Ann Noble at the University of Davis, California which categorizes and describes the aromas and bouquets found in wines.
A term used for wines with powerful, pleasing and recognizable smells.
From the French "sprinkling". Refers to a method of preventing frost from forming on the vines and grapes.
French for blending; vinification method used either before or after fermentation, or both, whereby different varieties or vintages are mixed to create a blended wine. This term originated in Bordeaux where the typical blend is of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
From the Greek island Santorini, this unique variety stands up to the searing heat and strong winds of the island, while simultaneously complimenting the mineral notes acquired from the volcanic soils. It makes pleasantly acidic wines by the same name and can be used to blend with wines lacking in this department.
Wines with a high tannic concentration are considered astringent. This is not a taste but a physical sensation in the mouth of puckering and drying. Astringency contributes to the overall mouth-feel of a wine, and its descriptors include soft, rough, green, and hard.
Descriptor for grippingly acidic wines which lack the proper complementing balance of alcohol, sugar and flavor profiles.
Descriptor for a wine lacking in balance between acids, alcohol, sugar and flavor profiles.

Ancient Roman god of wine.
Term used to define the structure of a wine.
Balance in a wine is the harmonious synthesis of its alcohol, acid, tannins and sugars, the essential components of a wine's flavor profile. When no single component is dominant and each component complements the others, a wine is considered well-balanced. Each type of wine has a different benchmark for quality balance.
A very large bottle, capable of containing the equivalent of 12 to 16 standard 750ml bottles.
France's finest appellation for Naturally Sweet Wines or Vins Doux Naturels (VDN). The primary grape variety is Grenache Noir, which must comprise 50% of the final product. There are a few different styles, all excellent.
The famous grape of Italy's Piedmont region. Italy's most common red wine grape and now accounts for over 10% of California's plantings. Known for a deep purple hue, bright acidity, ripe berry flavors and a dry finish. Reputation not as high as Piedmonte's most prestigious grape, Nebbiolo.
A village in the Piedmont region of Italy, just south of Alba, where the Nebbiolo grape takes on its most intensely powerful expression.
A wine is barrel aged when the flavor, structure, balance and complexity are improved by spending time resting in oak casks.
Vinification technique of placing small batches of grape juice in barrels to ferment. This technique is used almost exclusively for white wines and is most successful for the Chardonnay grape which complement well the flavors imparted by the oak.
The extremely precise technique of selecting, cutting, drying and shaping oak wood into a barrel. The three-step heating process involving steam, gas, boiling water, burning oak chips in some combination is used to carefully bend the staves into the proper shape. Once the barrels are formed, the wood is toasted in varying degrees upon request of the winemaker to allow for the proper carmelization of resin. This allows for the barrels to impart the flavors associated with oak such as vanilla, coconut, and cinnamon.
Bordeaux term for an oak barrel of 225 liters. Called a "fut" in Burgundy.
Scale used to measure the total soluble compounds in the juice, indicating the approximate concentration of grape sugars. This measurement is used primarily in France and also Australia, and is comparable to the Brix and Oechsle systems obtained using a refractometer or a hydrometer.
A small village in the Rhone Valley region of Vaucluse famous for the production of its aromatic Naturally Sweet Wines or Vins Doux Naturels. It is of the Muscat family.
The small bubbles in sparkling wine and champagne which rise from the base of the glass towards the rim. Fine beading is considered an indicator of high quality.
The individual grape within a bunch. Also used to describe a category of fruity flavors found when tasting wine.
A bin is a collection of wine bottles stored horizontally in a cellar. Bin number has come to indicate a special selection within the bin.
Describes the feeling of a wine on your tongue when the acids or tannis are over-dominant.
One of the four kinds of taste that we sense with our olefactory and taste-buds working in unison. The other three tastes are salty, sweet and sour. Any of the four tastes in excess is considered a fault, but too much bitterness is especially unpleasant in a wine. It can be caused by over use of oak chips or poorly toasted barrels.
Synonymous with red grapes. Some grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon look much more blue-black than red.
French for "white of whites". Term used for Champagne made exclusively from the Chardonnay grape.
French for "white of blacks". Term used for Champagne made from red grapes, specifically Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, where the grapes are pressed and the skins are immediately removed so as to impede any phenolic extraction from them. At times the resulting juice has a slight pink hue.
The winemaking practice of mixing different batches of wines. Most of the world's greatest wines are a result of masterful blending. Different batches of the same or of different varieties and vintages can be blended in order to create the most well-balanced final product. Used to correct problems of a certain variety or batch's structure, such as over dominant acidy or lack of tannins.
An organized, controlled tasting of a group of wines when the actual wines' identities are concealed from the tasters. Used to create impartiality and objectiveness.
Synonymous with rose; the name for a light pink wine made from red grapes with reduced skin contact during fermentation. White Zinfandel is the popular stereotype in the American wine portfolio.
Tasting term used to describe the sensation of weight and feel of a wine in the mouth. This is a result of the wine's viscosity and density, created by a combination of tannic extract, glycerol and alcoholic content.
Also known as Noble Rot, this is the sought after bacteria which, with the correct weather conditions, can invade healthy white grapes and cause water evaporation within the berries, concentrating the sugars and other flavors. The smell of affected grapes is often described as honey-like. It is the presence of Botrytis that creates the expensive, world famous sweet wines of Sauternes and Tokaj.
The practice of keeping newly bottled wines in storage before release to let the wines settle or in the cellar in order to permit development of more complex aroma profiles or bouquets.
Today the variety of bottle shapes is mesmerizing. The most popular shapes are the bordeaux (tall and narrow with high shoulders), burgundy (wider and shorter with sloping shoulders), the Chianti (squat onion shaped with a longer neck) and the German (very tall and narrow with almost no shoulders).
Term describing what happens to a wine just after bottling, or with delicate wines when shook, which corrects itself after a few days when the bottles are at rest.
Disagreeable odor caused by excessive amounts of sulfur in a wine which can be reduced by bottle aging or simply decanting. Also known as bottle stink.
Designation on the label indicating the company which purchased finished wines and simply bottled them.
The machinated process of transferring wine from a vat, tank, barrel or cask into a bottle. Some small wineries have small machines, other wineries have fully automated multi-task bottlers capable of filling thousands of bottles an hour. Other wineries hire outside companies to bring a mobile bottling line to the winery when it is time for the product to be bottled.
The smells a wine acquires with aging, not to be confused with aroma. Since a bouquet is an assortment of dried flowers and plants, the bouquet of a wine is often a variety of flowery, earthy, grassy smells. There is no congruity in the usage of this term by wine tasters.
In the wine world, indicates the name of a defined product or line of products of a specific winery, company, negociant, or bottler. In today's market, the brand name has become a stronger marketing tool than using the region or kind of wine as a product name.
Tasting term for wines characterized by big tannins, hard, woody flavors and tends to be unrefined.
See aeration.
Tasting term describing a wine with wild berry characteristics.
Describes a wine with a clear, brilliant appearance. Also a tasting term describing a zesty, acidic wine with focused flavors.
Describes exceptionally clear, bright, luminescent wines with a flawless clarity.
A measurement of the dissolved sugars in a wine measured with a hydrometer or a refractometer. The brix measurement is taken to decide when to harvest the grape, as it is used to predict the potential alcohol percentage. It is expressed in degrees. One brix equals 18g/l of sugar.
Term describing what happens to a wine with long aging. Occurs with both red and white wines and is caused by oxidation.
French term developed in Champagne to describe a champagne or sparkling wine which is dry rather than sweet. A brut should contain under 15g/l of sugar.
Signals the end of the dormant period of the vine. The annual reappearance of shoots from the buds in the spring on the vines.
Every oak barrel has a bung hole through which wine is poured and stirred. When not in use, this hole is closed with a rubber, glass or plastic stopper called a bung.
Tasting term used to describe the butter flavor found in some wines, often associated with Chardonnay.

The less revered grape variety of Bordeaux, though not necessarily deserving. It is used in many Bordeaux blends as well as Vin de Pays from the Loire Valley. Cabernet Franc finds its claim to fame in Chateau Cheval Blanc as well as other vineyards in St. Emilion where it is happiest. It has a similar flavor profile as Cabernet Sauvignon, and though slightly more herbaceous it does not have as many tannins or as acids. It ripens better in relatively cooler climates. Cabernet Franc has aromas of violets and raspberries, but when used in small percentages it is barely perceptible.
The great red variety of Bordeaux. It is often regarded as the king of reds. Though its plantings are not as expansive as one may imagine, it has become a popular variety now planted extensively in the US and all over the world. Because of its high proportion of pulp to skin, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes lend to big, tannic, flavorful, deeply hued and succulent wines. The bordeaux blends of the Medoc are often primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, needing a touch of Merlot of Cabernet Franc to mellow them. Cabernet Sauvignon wines are distinct in color and flavor, leaning towards blackcurrant, tobacco, cedar and green pepper.
The southwest region of Italy with Naples as a capital. Once considered the prominent Mediterranean wine producer, today its reputation has become less important as competition increases. The grapes of this region include Aglianico (which excels in the Taurasi DOC), Sangiovese, Primitivo, Barbera, and Greco di Tufo.
The leaves of the vines in a row are referred to as the canopy. These leaves are often trained to grow in a specific style and direction so as to control the amount of sun exposure on the grape bunches and maximize or minimize photosynthesis. This repertoire of viticultural growing techniques used to control grape yields and prevent disease is called canopy management.
A layer of grape skins, stems and seeds which coagulate and float on top of the red grape juice in the fermentation vats. It prevents juice contact with the air, but it is often punched down or the wine is pumped over and through it in order to extract as much phenolics as possible increasing color, flavor and life of the wine.
Also known as foil. Made from either plastic or tin, these foils are fitted tightly over the top of the bottle. Custom seals and other codes can be embossed on the capsule.
The chemical compound which is a product of alcoholic fermentation. As the yeasts metabolize the sugars in grape juice, alcohol and carbon dioxide are formed.
A fermentation process associated primarily with Beaujolais where the red grapes (usually gamay) are placed in vats without being machine pressed. The weight of the berries does crush the bottom layer, and the actual transformation of sugar to ethanol begins within each berry using the yeast naturally present on each grape in an oxygen free environment. The result it an exceptionally fruity, bright, light, low tannin and perfumed wine with no aging potential. The Beaujolais Nouveau is the stereotypical wine exhibiting flavors of banana, cherry, raspberry and candy.
Once a favorite variety of Bordeaux, specifically Graves and Medoc, it was wiped out due to phylloxera and abandoned because of susceptibility to rot. However, some producers have replanted this variety because it is so pleasantly well-balanced.
A box of 12 bottles of wine. A split case is 6 bottles of two different kinds of wine. A mixed case is a box of 12 different wines.
See bin number
The Spanish term for sparkling wine made using the traditional champagne method. This term was coined in 1970 when France imposed the legislation forcing all sparkling wine not made in Champagne, France to abandon the name Champagne.
Tasting term referring to the cedar smell often exhibited by the Cabernet family of grapes.
Commonplace term for where a wine is made and stored, often underground to provide the proper temperature and humidity. It is seen in Europe as cave, cantina, bodega, keller and quinta.
French for "grape variety."
The northern most region of Burgundy covering 7,500 acres where minerally, dry white wines are produced. The region uses exclusively, as all of Burgundy, the Chardonnay grape for its whites.
Grape-growing region in northeast France located between Paris and Alsace. Also the name of the sparkling wine which originated in this region. A sparkling wine may only be called Champagne if it is produced in the designated Champagne region following the viticultural and vinification regulations under the traditional method or méthode champenoise.
The vinification process of adding sugar or concentrated grape must ,not to make the wine sweeter, but to increase the potential alcohol level. This practice is widely used in colder regions and renounced by southern wine making regions where it is unnecessary. The practice is highly regulated in the AOC's and with members of the EU who are concerned about the growing surplus of wine.
Undoubtedly the world's most saught after grape variety by winemakers and drinkers alike. This grape makes the famous white wines of France's Burgudy region, most abundant in the northern region called Chablis. It is an aromatic, flavorful white wine with the structure to benefit from oak aging. This variety is often high in malic acid, and therefore often undergoes malolactic fermentation. Most people associate green apples, white flowers, pear, peach and of course the signature nutty, butter and vanilla characters brought on by extended barrel aging seen in the new world examples. It is also the grape variety used in Champagne production because of its high acid content. The vines are especially resistant to inclement weather and ripen early making them valuable for cooler climate viticulture, despite the fact that certain Chardonnay clones are also adapted to hotter climates. The flavor profile, style and quality of the wine depend largely on the soil, climate, weather and winemaker making this a varietal that can vary dramatically from brand to brand.
The grape variety of French speaking Switzerland where the wine goes by a few different names depending on the location. This variety is rumored to be the oldest cultivated variety originating in Egypt or Cyprus. It is particularly low in acid and lacking in any aromatic complexity, yet the Swiss are especially proud of their Fendent or Perlan, and defend it ardently. Almost none of the Swiss national production is exported and therefore the wines are little known outside of the Swiss borders- and this may be no great loss. However, Chasselas is responsible for the rather well known Pouilly-sur-Loire of France.
French for castle, but in winespeak it refers to a vine-growing estate and all its facilities.
This variety is the white grape of France's Loire Valley and in more recent history it was transplanted to South Africa where it now has more acreage than in all of the Loire Valley. Nonetheless, the French winemakers' experience with this classic grape proves advantageous and Chenin's most impressive, luxurious expressions come out of Anjou, Saumur and other Loire appellations. This grape makes some of the most interesting, pungent, aromatic and unusually flavored white wines imaginable. The younger, dry wines take some adjusting to appreciate as they can be powerfully mineral, acidic and even salty, yet nearly unbelievably complex. If you have the patience to wait a couple decades, these wines become opulent, rich and honey-laden with ripe apricot, peach and limestone character. The combination of expressive fruit, complex minerality and mouth-watering acidity makes Loire Chenin Blanc tantalizing and often goes under-appreciated. Outside of the Loire, Chenin Blanc is often used to produce more simple white wines or for blending in basic table wines.
Tasting term for wines with high tannic extraction giving the impression that the liquid is so full-bodied and thick that it should be chewed rather than swallowed.
The Tuscan region between Florence and Siena in north-central Italy known for red wines of unpredictable quality which traditionally come in onion shaped bottles with straw encasements.
Tasting term describing the smell of cigar tobacco and cedar often associated with the Cabernet family of grapes.
The term used in Britain for red wines from Bordeaux.
Vinification technique which removes suspended particles known as lees in the wine before bottling.
Used to define the appearance of a wine. Defines whether or not there are particles visible in the wine or not.
Tasting term which describes the health and purity of the wine. It is clean if there are no faulty aromas or flavors.
A region's average meteorologic conditions over the course of a year, concerning temperature, precipitation, sunlight, and wind as well as other variables all of which have an important influence in the growth of grapes.
A genetically identical reproduction of a specific grape vine, used to propagate a certain variety which may have desirable characteristics depending on the climate and soil conditions.
French for enclosed. Term particular to Burgundy where many vineyards are closed in with a wall.
Tasting term which describes a wine who's aromas are not easily identifiable due either to the phase of the wine in its life-cycle or because the sample is too cold.
Descriptor for a wine whose appearance is not clear.
Tasting term for an excessively sweet wine which is lacking in the proper balance of acidity.
Tasting term which refers to the feeling of the wine in the mouth as harsh and dry.
The grape also known as Pallagrelo, revived by Mastroberardino, which is blended to make Greco di Tufo.
A winemaking technique used to clarify the wine by reducing the tank temperature for two weeks causing the solids to fall to the bottom of the tank or cask, thus facilitating their removal. This is done to prevent the solids from crystallizing in the bottle.
French for village or parish.
Tasting term describing a wine with layers of flavors and aromas which complement and augment one another and evolve as a wine is swirled and sipped and left to breath in the glass. All great wines have complexity.
Tasting term describing the stewed effect that is either attributed to improper storage/shipping conditions or to the use of overripe grapes for wine-making.
The individual who makes oak barrels. The cooperage is where the barrels are made..
The tree or bark from the cork tree which is cultivated for the production of corks, or wine bottle stoppers.
The price incurred at a restaurant by the diner when he brings his own bottle of wine to drink.
Tasting term describing a wine which has been tainted by a faulty, molded or contaminated cork. Usually smells like mold or fungus and is one of the most unfortunate problems possible for wine because it cannot be aired off.
Though perhaps the grape's name is little known, this is the variety which is used to make Gavi dei Gavi in Piedmont, Italy's most expensive white wine. Only in one small district of Piedmont does it achieve greatness, otherwise is a simple, acidic, rather plain wine.
Spanish term for the process of aging a wine and also designates the youngest type of oak aged wine. It must have spent 3 years in oak and six months in the bottle before going to market.
Tasting term for a wine with rather high acidity, a clean, refreshing mouth and finish.
French term for a selected plot of a vineyard designated as superior to others. Translated in English as growth.
Common term for the harvest used by people who work in the vineyard. Refers to the grape pressing or crushing.
A select blend of a special wine or lot of wine.

The common abbreviation for the University faculty at Davis, California renowned for its research in viticulture and eonology as well as for its degrees in the same fields.
The winemaking practice of reducing the acidity of overly acidic wines. This practice, like chaptalization and acidification are highly regulated in most wine regions.
The term for opening and pouring a bottle of wine into a specially shaped glass container designed for the purpose of aerating a wine.
Technique used when making sparkling wine. The champagne bottle is turned neck down into a cold solution thus freezing the lees which have accumulated at the cap of the bottle. The cap is quickly removed, expelling the unwanted frozen sediment and the bottle is resealed.
A system whereby a region's climate is categorized based on the number of days in the year when the temperature permits vine growth. This systems helps individuals decide where they want to plant which variety of vine.
French for wine tasting.
Tasting term for the pleasant quality found in many great Rieslings and Pinot Noirs where the light body is complemented by vivid flavor profiles.
Descriptor developed in France to indicate a semi-sweet white wine or champagne.
Tasting term used to indicate how many layers of flavors are present in a particular wine. The more complex the wine's flavor profile, the greater the depth.
One of the initial winemaking processes which transpires as the grapes are brought into the cellar from the harvest. Involves removing all branches, stems, and leaves from the grape bunches so as to prevent them from going into the fermentation tanks, as they would impart undesirably harsh, green tannins to the juice.
Viticultural practice of removing the unwanted shoots from the vines at bud-break to control yields.
Pejorative tasting term which implies poor wine-making.
Tasting term which describes an unbalanced and inharmonious wine.
The disparity between day and nighttime temperatures at a given vineyard.
DO (Denominatión De Origen)
As with Italy's DOC, this used to be Spain's highest appellation category until it too liberally awarded.
DOC (Denominazione D'origine Controllata)
The Italian system for defining wine regions and wine names. In addition, the D.O.C.G. (Denominazione d'Origine Controllata Garantita) covers regions willing to submit their wines to tougher requirements, including tasting approval.
DOCa (Denominatión De Origen Calificada)
Spanish term equivalent to the French AOC (see above) which indicates the highest controlled quality category of wine.
Italian for "sweet".
The tertiary grape of the northeastern Piedmont region of Italy in terms of prestige, but what is consumed by locals. It's name means "little sweet one" and is loved for its perceptibly sweet fruit flavors and low tannins which make it so quaff-able. It is blended with Nebbiolo and Barolo to make them more drinkable young.
Winemaking technique for the dose of wine (usually with some cane or beet sugar) added to a bottle of sparkling wine to replace lost volume from the dégorgement, and to adjust the level of residual sugar in the final product. The difference between Brut, Extra-Dry and Demi-Sec sparkling wines is determined by the amount of sugar in the dosage.
French for "sweet". Used to designate sweet wines or Champagnes as in Vins Doux Naturels.
The viticultural technique of irrigation where water is released evenly throughout the vineyard in a slow and controlled drip system.
Descriptor for a wine with no sensation of sweetness or sugar in the mouth.
The point at which a wine has passed its prime and is beginning to decrease in quality.
Tasting term for the period when a young wine's initial freshness is lost and the next period of character development in the bottle has not yet occurred. See closed.

Tasting term for the aroma of soil, must, or mushrooms which can be present in a wine. Often this adds a layer of complexity to the wine, but in too high a dose is considered a fault.
German for ice wine. Frozen-pressed and fermented wines made from winter harvested frozen grapes. These wines are sweet and high in acidity as most of the water has evaporated from the grapes by the time of harvest.
Tasting term which describes a wine with a subtle and refined character. A high complement for a wine.
An individual with an advanced degree from an accredited university or institute in the science of winemaking.
The science of and winemaking. Also spelled oenology.
An individual with a passion and love for everything associated with wine and the vine.
The Italian term for a wine shop usually specializing in fine wines.
American term synonymous for Chateau Bottled or Domaine Bottled. In the US it is put on the label of wines made from grapes entirely owned and grown by the producer and bottled on premise.
The chemical compounds in both food and wine which are responsible for what we smell and taste.
Scientific name for alcohol.
The most common ester in wine which imparts in small doses a fresh fruity flavor, but in high doses gives a smell of vinegar.
The winemaking process originating in Bordeaux whereby the red grape solids are kept in contact with the newly fermented wines in a hermetically sealed tank for up to one month. This lengthy period of skin contact allows for a greater degree of phenolic extraction, giving the wines more varietal flavor and complexity. Only done for full-bodied age-worthy red wines.
French term for the category of Champagnes with no added sugar.
Deceptive term describing sparkling wines which are actually slightly sweet.
Term for all the dry matter or solids in a wine. This non-volatile matter consists of sugars, minerals, acids, phenolics and glycerol. Also used as a tasting term which indicates full body and tannins.

French term which describes the period in a wine's life during fermentation and through bottling.

Action that certain wines may undergo with aging where there is a loss of color and aroma.
Ancient grape variety which the Italian producer Mastroberardino has ressurected and given it's own bottling. A spicy white wine with pleasant acidity.
Tasting term for wines with an especially full-body, intense flavors and a sense of voluptuousness.
Term describing wines displaying more traditionally "feminine" characteristics such as light-bodied, perfumed or floral wines.
Vinification process whereby yeasts transform the sugars in grape juice into ethanol and carbon dioxide. Takes place in an oxygen deprived environment.
Ancient grape variety which the Italian producer Mastroberardino has replanted in Avellino. The area's famous hazelnut groves are rumored to impart their characteristic nutty flavor to the Fiano di Avellino wines.
Name for a wine produced from a vineyard cultivated in numerous complementary grape varieties. More rare today than it once was.
Name for a wine which is made mainly from a popular grape variety but carrying a price tag of a generic blend. This was developed in the 1980's to create a new market and was extremely successful. Goal was to sell good quality varietals such as Cabernet or Merlot for a fraction of the price normally associated with these wines.
The height on the neck of the bottle where the wine reaches. The goal is to leave as little space between the cork and the surface of the wine so as to minimize the possible presence of oxygen. Over time, wine will be absorbed into the cork and the fill line will drop.
The straining of solid particles from a wine before bottling by passing it through a screen or soil filter. This practice is highly debated because when all the solids are removed, much of the flavor and color producing esthers and minerals and phenolics can also be removed. A fine, barrel aged red wine should need no filtration. Many wines today chose to label their wines as 'unfiltered' so as to disassociate themselves from this controversial issue.
A winemaking technique using a number of different possible coagulatory agents such as egg whites, milk, fish bladders and bentonite to which solid particles adhere and are more easily removed. There is no need for concern that residue from these natural agents remains in any harmful level in the wine once fining is complete.
Tasting term which refers to the length the flavors of a wine remain on the palate once the wine has been swallowed.
Tasting term describing a wine lacking in acidity.
Tasting term for a wine lacking the acidity to balance the sugars.
The flavor of a wine is perceived by the taste buds working in conjunction with the olefactory system which has a more precise and comprehensive repertoire. The flavors present in wines are exceptionally varied from fruit to mineral to butter to leather.
Tasting term for a wine with a smooth, thick consistency reminiscent of ripe fruit.
A group of wines compared and contrasted with one another so as to judge, for example, the evolution of a single wine over many vintages. Usually three to six wines are in a flight.
Tasting term for white wines with the aroma of flint scraped against steel. This is often said of Sauvignon Blanc when at its driest.
Descriptor for a wine which smells of flowers.
The period in a vineyard during the spring when the flowers are fertilized and the growth of berries begins.
A winemaker who spends half of his year making wine in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere since their harvest seasons are not the same.
Descriptor for a wine whose alcohol content has been augmented by the addition of spirits, such as Port.
Tasting term unique to North American varieties for a musky scented juice or wine.
The juice which flows naturally from a pile of grapes whose lower layers are crushing under the weight of the upper layers.
The most renowned oak from a few famous forests (allier, limousin) used to make wine barrels. The most expensive type of oak and snobbishly sought after by many European winemakers.
Term revealed on a 60 Minutes special in the early 90's describing the irony of a Frenchmen's diet- excessively high fat diet paired with a large per capital wine consumption in a population where coronary/heart diseases are quite low. Once it was hypothesized that red wine may help eliminate a build-up of artery-clogging fats and cholesterol, the US consumption of red wine spiked to four times its earlier rate.
Tasting term for young wines with a healthy amount of acids and clean ripe fruit.
Italian carbonated wines with less bubbles than ordinary sparkling wines.
In sub-freezing temperatures, the water vapors crystallize on the surface of the vines. This can be especially harmful if the leaves and grapes have developed or simply if the vine is not dormant. Frost protection can be expensive and is not always successful.
Viticultural term for the initial growth of tiny grape bunches from the fertilized flowers of the vine.
Generic tasting term for a wine with a prominent flavor of fruit. Can be any type of fruit.
Tasting term describing a wine with high extract of tannins and poly-phenols giving it a weight or mass in the mouth.
In the wine world, wine paid for before it is bottled or available for consumption. Called "en primeur" in France.

The variety which accounts for nearly 100% of the plantings in Beaujolais. It is responsible for the pleasantly light and fruity everyday wine referred to as Beaujolais. It is the only other variety allowed to be planted in Burgundy. While it does not gain the respect that its sister to the North has claimed, the finest Gamays from select appellations in Beaujolais have been known to age to perfection, resembling fine Pinot Noir.
The product in jelly and jello used as a fining agent in winemaking.
Blended wines made from lower-quality or inexpensive grapes targeted at the low end market. In the US these wines used to carry the names of other regions, like Chablis, degrading the term and the superior wines which come from those regions. The EU has now outlawed the use of place names on generic wine labels.
Also known as Genetic Manipulation. The scientific process of breeding using inter-species gene transfers. This is used today in oenology and viticulture.
The Australian appellation system.
Most revered in Alsace, this variety's name bears dual citizenship. At first glance it seems undeniably Germanic. "Gewurz" does mean spices or aromatics, however the Traminer indicates the grape's Italian origins from the town by that name. First cultivated in the Alto-Adige region of Italy, now famous for the polar opposite variety Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer is known for its intensely aromatic nose of rose and heady tropical fruits, and a tantalizing spicy bite adds complexity to the rather onctuous mouth-feel.
The instrument into which wine is poured. Inert and transparent, a wine glass is especially designed for wine appreciation.
One of the two principle sugars in grapes and sweet wines.
Or glycerol, a product of alcoholic fermentation. Gives a slight sweetness and slickness to a wine, though bears no relation to the legs or tears seen streaming down the inside of a glass after swirling.
The American late 1800's movement to the West in search of gold which simultaneously brought vineyard planting to the most grape growing conducive regions in America.
French tasting term for the "flavors of the land" which is used to describe the unique characteristics of a wine specific to a certain vineyard or terroir.
Tasting term for a wine which is subtle and smooth.
A viticultural method first developed to combat the destructive pest phylloxera where resistant root-stocks were planted and the desired grape variety stalk tissues were then connected so as to grow into one plant. The grapes grow from the upper part of the graph, not the rootstock.
Term describing the density of wood, used by coopers to discern the quality of the oak. Oak can be either tight or wide grained.
Spain's highest quality categories is only bottled in the best of years. In order to qualify, the reds must be aged at least five years with a minimum of two in oak.
French for "great growth". Term used originally in Burgundy to identify and separate the best wines from superior vineyards or plots.
French system famous in Bordeaux used to define the greatest vineyards. The first, of which their were 5, were created in 1855.
Tasting term for fruit-forward wines where the flavor is reminiscent of grapes and not of more complex fruits and berries.
Tasting term for wine with hints of grassy aromas. Often said of Sauvignon blanc.
The name given to the grape Greco grown in the Campania region of Italy by Mastroberardino. Greco di Tufo adds quite a bit of weight and character to other less fortunate grapes and is generally of very good quality.
Tasting term for wines made from unripe grapes. Not a sought after comment.
Grape originally from Spain which has spread rampantly, finding its most popular destination in France's Langedoc and Rhone Valley regions. It is the second most widely planted vine in the world, though usually is used for blending because it often lacks acidity and body, while it brags sugar levels which easily obtain 16% alcohol in the wine. Because it withstands strong sun and brutal winds, it has become a love of southern windy regions like Australia and Spain. Because of it is thin-skinned, fruity and sweet it is used for the production of most rose wines especially in the Mediterranean.
The most harmful and unwanted form of Botrytis Cinera bacteria which attacks grapes, the evil twin of Noble Rot.
The grape variety which is only successful in the sparkling wine departments of Piedmont, Asti and Alessandria. It is a light, delicate, though terribly pleasant wine enjoyed most as a coctail aperitif because most food would overpower it.
A positive tasting term for the tactile sensation occurring in high extract wines, necessary for the proper fullness of certain varieties.
US labeling term for wines which were grown, vinified and bottled at the winery.
The mechanized crates into which hundreds of champagne bottles can be placed in order to quicken and simplify the riddling process.

A bottle with half the capacity of standard 750ml, or 375ml. Holds approximately 3 glasses of wine.
Tasting term for a wine with excessive amounts of tannins or acids making it unpleasant to drink.
Tasting term for a wine with a seamless structure which incorporates all the necessary elements of character and flavor in perfect balance.
Tasting term for an overly alcoholic or tannic wine.
The period or act of removing grapes from the vine in order to begin pressing and fermentation.
Term used to denote the lack of perfect clarity in a wine.
Tasting term for wines high in alcohol.
Tasting term used for wines with full, fleshy body and intense flavors.
The land measurement used in most of the world. One hectare is 10,000 square meters, which translates into 2.47 acres.This is how the size of a vineyard is determined.
A quantity of liquid equivalent to 100 liters or 26.4 gallons. In most of Europe, yield is measured in hectoliters per hectare vs. tons per acre in the U.S.
Tasting term similar to grassy, used to describe wines with an herbal or vegetal smell like freshly cut grass.
The chemicals used to protect vines and grapes from the growth of damaging or invasive weeds.
Tasting term for a wine lacking in any discernible flavor, texture or character.
A wine tasting of many different wines from the same vintage, either of one winery or various producers from a given region. As opposed to a Vertical which denotes a tasting of the same winery's wine from many different vintages.
Tasting term for wines which feel hot in the mouth, throat or stomach due to a high degree of alcohol.
Term commonly used for non-vintage alcoholic beverages such as Champagne and Cognac describing the structure, aroma and flavor profiles unique to a specific estate or company. In order to remain unique and provide consistency from year to year, some wine from prior years will be blended with the new vintage.
In viticulture, the propagation of a new, single variety from two different varieties. This can occur naturally from cross-pollination in the wild or be a result of a deliberate human intervention.
The instrument used to measure the sugar level in grapes to determine harvest date. It is measured in Brix, Oechsle or Baume.

IGT or Indicazione Geografica Tipica
One of the Italian quality categories, second up from the lowest level of Vino da Tavola, or Table Wine (not to be confused with the generic American term for all wines between 9 and 14% alcohol). It indicates a wine which expresses the typicities of a specific region. It received the spotlight with the advent of Super Tuscans, superior quality wines of Tuscany which did not qualify as DOC because they were not made from the regulatory blends, and therefore were labeled as lower category IGT's but priced above many DOC's.
A very large bottle which holds six liters of wine, or 8 standard bottles. In Bordeaux it is called a Methuselah.
Tasting term which can be used both for the of flavors or aromas of a wine.
The internationally recognized grape varieties which make the most popular varietals such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Bringing water to the vineyard by sprinklers or drip systems to regions where rainfall is inadequate. More widely practiced in the New World than the Old because it is more highly regulated and prohibited in Europe than the Americas and Oceania.

The Bordelaise term for large bottles which contain 4.5 liters or the equivalent of six standard bottles. However, in Burgundy and Champagne, the Jeroboam holds only 3 liters and therefore is equal to Bordeaux's double magnum.
Increasingly common phenomenon in the wine world where two companies, usually with different strengths and weaknesses combine to produce a family of wines or brand in order to maximize the market potential.
American name for generic varietal bulk wine of low-quality and is sold usually as a bag in the box.

Wine made under the supervision of a rabbi, present to bless the wine at certain points during fermentation and bottling, in accordance to Hebrew law.

The paper adhered to the front and at times the back of the wine bottle which provides the surface for communicating all the necessary and desired information about a wine. In the US, the BATF regulates mandatory information and surveys all labels for correctness before a new wine label is allowed on the shelves. It is one of the marketers' most valuable tools for communicating the image and identity of their brand.
The soft, smooth acid associated with milk which is the bi-product of malolactic fermentation, or the conversion of malic acid (harsh, sharp acid in green apples) to lactic acid. Common to red wines such as Cabernet and also Chardonnay.
Region in south/southwest France known for its bulk-production. Today it is attempting to correct it's rather deplorable image by eliminating the large cooperative wineries and instituting the once rejected appellation system.
US labeling term for wines picked after the the harvest for table wines. These wines have a higher sugar content and are considered desert wines.
Viticultural term for the percentage of leaves to grape bunches on a vine which is used to predict the vine's grape ripening capacity.
Tasting term for a high acid, meaty wine, which when used negatively means that the wine is lacking in fruit qualities.
The tasting term describing wines which smell or taste of well-used leather, usually exhibited in older red wines.
The sediment which collects in barrels or Champagne bottles composed of primarily of dead yeast cells. Some red and white wines are left to sit "sur lees" or on the lees in order to soak up certain flavor characteristics and/or reduce the malic acid content
The streams of liquid that adhere to the side of a glass and run down after a wine is swirled in the glass. It is an indicator of the alcoholic content.
The duration of a wine's flavor on the tongue after a wine is swallowed. The longer the length of a wine, the greater the quality, assuming the wine's flavors are pleasant.
One of France's oak forests cultivated for cooperage near Limoges famous for high quality.
Tasting term for a wine with persistent length of flavor.
Tasting term for fresh, juicy and bright wine with zip.
The ideal soil for cultivating most plants; a composition of clay, sand and silt which is permeable and therefore stores water effectively.
Tasting term for supple, smooth, fruity, and velvety; more often associated with sweet white wines than rich red wines.

Vinification term for keeping the grape skins in contact with the juice during fermentation.
Tasting term derived from the Portuguese wine called Madeira to describe oxidized, browned wines with a nutty, caramelized flavor.
A large bottle which holds 1.5 liters, or 2 standard bottles.
Also known as Cot in the Bordeaux region of France. Less refined and concentrated than Merlot, though similar. It has high yields making it a popular for less expensive wines wishing to reflect the flavor profile of Bordeaux blends.
The acid commonly associated with Granny Smith Apples. Very tart and sour and when present in high concentrations as in Cabernet, is often converted into lactic acid during the secondary fermentation known as malolactic.
A bacterial fermentation occurring in most wines, this natural process converts sharper malic acid (found in green apples) into softer lactic acid (found in milk). Total acidity is reduced; the wines become softer, rounder and more complex. In addition, ML stabilizes wines by preventing an undesirable fermentation in the bottle. Often called the secondary fermentation. Frequently associated with big, rich buttery Chardonnay, ML is prevented when fresher, crisper styles are desired.
A greek island grape not particularly noteworthy except in its color concentration and therefore is used in blending with other varieties such as Monemvasia to make the tasty red wines of Crete.
Town in Sicily known for the fortified wine of the same name.
A variety which has spread rampantly in France's Rhone Valley and slowly migrating to the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Marsanne is the highly productive as well as aromatic component in Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage. To be appreciated this variety should be consumed young, when it contains the freshness necessary to balance out the rich aromas and high alcohol content. It is often blended with Roussanne to allow for greater aging potential and balance, and lends well to oak aging.
Tasting term for wines with more masculine characteristics such as cigar box, musk, cedar, earthy, or leathery; the opposite of feminine.
The degree held by those individuals who complete the rigorous courses and examinations held by the Institute of Masters of Wine originating in London for wine knowledge and appreciation. It is considered the most difficult and demanding degree in the wine tasting world and is held by only a select number of people.
The point at which a wine has reached its fullest potential, will not benefit from further aging and therefore is ready to be consumed.
Growing in the Peloponnese and used for the production of red desert wines. Interestingly, oxidation and heating is encouraged during the wine-making process whereby the barrels are left to sunbathe- quite like the process of sherry production.
Alcoholic drink made from fermented honey. Apparently dates further back than wine or beer.
Tasting term for full-bodied and highly extracted red wines. Also used to indicate the aromas of cooked meat, bacon and wild game that can be found with Syrah and Pinot Noir.
Also known as Muscadet, this grape is believed to be from Burgundy, which its name clearly suggests. However the grape is barely acknowledged in Burgundy today, and is embraced in the Loire Valley for its acidity where it produces the eponymous Muscadet wines. These wines are designed to accompany the oily shellfish that come from the west coast's waters. Wines made from Melon de Bourgogne can age very well.
The surface rim where the wine meets the glass.
Term used by Californian vintners for wines made from blended Bordeaux varieties.
The classic variety famous for its role in Bordeaux, where it takes second place to Cabernet Sauvignon in reputation despite having over twice as much acreage. It is used in most of the famous Bordeaux blends, most importantly in St. Emilion and Pomerol where it accounts for 2/3 of the blend. The eponymous Chateau Petrus owes its reputation to Merlot. The grape is known for its easy drink-ability thanks to a fresh fruit-forward style with lower tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon. It is the favored french variety by Italians, especially in the North, and is found in the Americas as well as in New Zealand and Australia. It is a high yielding variety whose quality is greatly improved when yields are conservative.
METHODE CHAMPENOISE (Methode Traditionelle)
Traditionally recognized sparkling winemaking method developed in Champagne. True Champagne can only be made with this method.
A very large wine bottle holding 6 liters; the equivalent of eight 750ml bottles. The Burgundian equivalent of Bordeaux's Impériale.
Winemaking technique developed in the 1990's for adding controlled amounts of oxygen to the grape juice at very specific points during the fermentation process. This is to prevent the untimely death of yeast cells due to suffocation or can be used during elevage to prevent reduction (unpleasant aromas caused by inadequate oxygen levels).
The climactic conditions specific to a very small plot of land. Can vary from vine row to row and is always as small as a few meters.
French word for Vintage.
In wine terms, when the state, province or country controls the import and sale of all alcoholic beverages. Sweden, Pennsylvania and Egypt all have monopoly systems.
This Greek grape variety produces wonderfully delicate and aromatic wines which compliment an incredibly wide array of cuisines because of its excellent acidity and citrus fruit flavors. It is grown in the plateau of the Peloponnese region, achieving greater finesse when grown at higher altitudes.
A variety indigenous to southern France. Mourvèdre's image is lack-luster, though it is one of the grapes used in the famous Rhone Valley appellations Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It is blended with varieties such as Syrah and Grenache because it is lower in acidity and can lend a nice berry flavor and better balance to those wines. It has traveled to Australia and California, but under the alias Mataro, and is the fifth most popular red grape down under.
French term for the bubbly, frothy foam which forms as champagne is poured.
Tasting term describing the tactile sensation of the wine in the mouth.
Natural and organic fertilizers like cow manure and wood chips put on the vineyards soil to promote vine growth.
The variety created in Germany by the scientist Muller, from the Swiss town of Thurgau. This crossing of Sylvaner and Riesling is now Germany's most planted grape variety. The goal was to create a grape which manifested the best of each of its two parents while also eliminating their worst traits. The result was a grape which in gaining many viticultural advantages like earlier ripening, lost much of the character and appeal of both Riesling and Sylvaner. Unfortunately, the sum was not greater than or even equal to its parts. However there is nothing offensive or unpleasant about this grape and it is responsible for much of Germany's table wine and even in it's lower quality Qualitats wines. The grape is now popular in Eastern Europe and New Zealand.
This is actually a family of grapes with many sub-varieties whose names vary depending on the location in which it is grown. The most respected member of the Muscat family is Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains which boasts high quality and perhaps the most flavorful and sweet eating grapes. Some Ampelographers believe that all vitis vinifera vines are descended from the Muscat family, and this variety is cultivated all over Europe and the New World wine regions. The most important synonyms for the Petits Grains variety are Muscato d'Asti, Muscato Bianco, Muscat Blanc, Muscat d'Alsace, Frontignan, Muskadel. Clearly there is an association with the English word Musk and this grape's intoxicatingly sweet and fruity smell.
The Muscat family is huge, but the best known come from the vineyards of France, and particularly the Rhône Valley vineyards which make Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. Other members of the Muscat grape are planted throughout Italy, Alsace, Germany and in California.
Term for the grape juice before it ferments into wine.
Tasting term for wine with a moldy smell. Usually caused by making the wine with spoiled or mildewed grapes, improper sterilization of machinery or by a bad cork.
French term for adding alcohol to wine in the process of fermenting in order to stop fermentation. This results in fortified style wines, sweet desert style wines.

Term for the decreased ability to smell the aromas of a wine due to sniffing too many wines back to back. Common during wine tastings.
These are the yeasts indigenous to the vineyard where the grapes were grown. Certain winemakers prefer to use only indigenous yeasts, others purchase specific yeasts cultivated in yeast factories.
The most adored, famous and pricey grape of Italy's Piedmont region, playing the lead role in Barolo and Barbaresco.It is protected by the Italian and therefore plantings anywhere outside of Italy are practically nil. This late-ripening variety produces some of the worlds most inky black, tannic and acidic red wines, making them perfect candidates for long aging. The wines are powerful, robust, and complex winners on the international stage.
An enormous wine bottle which holds 15 liters or 20 standard (750ml) bottles.
French wine merchants who purchase wine or grape juice from grape growers and bottle and sell it under their own label.
A French city famous for Pouilly-Fume and the forest that produces hard, medium-grained oak for barrels.
Oak barrels that are in their first usage or have never been used. These barrels impart the greatest concentration of toasted oak flavors to the wine. Usually when a particular wine is made, the percentage of new oak is indicated. Since it is so expensive there is a combination of new and old oak used to age the wine and then the products are blended before bottling.
The popular term for wine making regions that have started producing wine more recently than in Europe such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and South Africa.
Inert natural gas which accounts for 78% of our air which acts as a dilutant for oxygen, which is highly reactive. Nitrogen is used during the bottling process; it is injected into the bottle just after the wine has been filled and before the cork is inserted to eliminate excess oxygen which could negatively affect the wine.
See Botrytis cinerea.
The classic wine making grapes indigenous to Europe. Red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Syrah. Whites include Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gerwürztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillion.
Wine, fortified wine or Champagne made from a blend of different vintages in order to keep that winery's style consistent year to year.
Synonymous with aroma or bouquet, it is the smell of a wine as sensed by the olefactory.
Tasting term for wines which have undergone oxidation or special fermentation techniques and have the taste of roasted nuts such as hazelnuts or walnuts. Often said of Tawny port or Sherry.

Pieces of oak used to impart the flavor of oak barrel aging. The cheap alternative because it can achieve similar results at a fraction of the price of new oak barrels. The use of oak chips is frowned down upon by French winemakers, their bias based on tradition and the desire to keep coopers in business and to prevent the unfair market advantage gained when wineries use oak chips instead of investing in barrels. Oak chips are prohibited in France, though many admit to the undercover use of them.
Tasting term for a wine with high aromatic concentrations of toasty, oaky, vanilla, coconut and buttery smells.
Term for a slightly sweet wine.
Stands for Office Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin, this is the unique intergovernmental organization with 47 member countries which is concerned with regulating all the vini-viticultural techniques, and all scientific, economic, technical and cultural issues which arise in the international wine scene. The OIV organizes conferences and research, writes journals and books, collects statistics and co-ordinates nomenclature for wines, wine regions and the likes. It is active in the WHO, the EU, WTO and other international organizations. It has also founded an International Masters program in Management, Marketing and Economics.
Wine made from vines which were planted 50-100 years earlier. Usually this gives the wine a more complex aroma and flavor profile because the roots access more layers of the soil thus soaking up more varied minerals and components from the soil.
The old world of winemaking is Europe, especially Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain and France.
A small patch of nerve endings in the nasal passage which connects the nose to the mouth. In sniffing or inhaling, the air passes over the olfactory bulb and allows animals to distinguish around 10,000 unique aromas even at very low concentrations.
Farming which prohibits the use of chemical products or genetic engineering. The legal definition is still not written in stone and modifies frequently.
Of or relating to the sense of smell.
Term for wine which has been overexposed to the air or oxygen and is therefore tainted or prematurely aged.

The surface of the tongue which allows the wine to linger and be tasted and sensed. Also the spectrum of flavors of a wine.
This is the chief grape used in the production of Spain's famous Sherries. It makes everything from the delicate and racy Manzanilla to the full-throttle Oloroso Sherries. It is the backbone of the dessert "Cream" Sherries, where it is blended with Pedro Ximénez grapes.
Spanish grape which lends to the country's sparkling wine, or Cava, production. It has lovely acid levels coupled with good fruit-forward flavor and is responsible for Torres' Vina Sol.
Influential wine critic who developed the now universal 100 point rating system for wine tasting. His guide, the Wine Advocate, is comprised of thousands of wine ratings tallied by Parker during his relentless tasting travels. Read in nearly 40 countries, this guide has a major impact on the success or failure of a wine or region.
French for country. Wine without any ties to a specific region, just a french table wine.
The point at which a wine has reached its pinnacle in terms of flavor and aroma potentials.
Tasting term for two different flavors potentially found in wine. One indicates a black peppercorn aroma which tickles the nose as if one is sniffing fresh crushed pepper. Syrah is often thus characterized.The other indicates an aroma of green bell pepper often found in Cabernet Sauvignon, especially when the grape is harvested too early.
Tasting term for highly aromatic wines, usually leaning towards flowery.
Chemical product sprinkled on the vineyard in order to prevent the infestation of insects, bugs and other harmful bacterias.
French term for a lightly sparkling wine.
Created by the scientist Dr Durif in the late 1800's, this variety is surprisingly not related to Syrah. Though almost entirely abandoned in France, this variety has seen a resurgence in California where plantings have increased yearly. It is especially useful in small quantities for blending with Zinfandel and is noted for its resistance to rotting. It is used as well for varietal production in the States and has a more varnished image there than anywhere else.
A lesser known variety of excellent quality indigenous to Bordeaux. It was one of the original grapes of this region and produces rich wines in color as well as flavor, with pepper, spice and complexity. In small quantities it is capable of adding quite a bit of complexity and color to any blend. Unfortunately, it is a finicky ripener and many winemakers have abandoned it in favor of more trustworthy varieties.
A chemical measurement of a liquid's acidy. Water has a pH of 7, which is neutral, and wines range on average from 3.0 to 3.7; white wines tend to have a lower pH (or higher acidity) than red wines, but this is not a rule.
aka Polyphenolics or Polyphenols. Highly reactive chemical compounds responsible for color (anthocyanins for dark-skinned fruit ) flavor compounds and tannins.
Arguably the most devastating vine pest invasion in history. A minute lice-like root feeding insect brought to Europe from the US in the 1860's and quickly spread to most wine growing regions. It destroyed 6.2 million acres of the non-resistant vitis vinifera in France alone, with enormous economical and social impacts. It was believed that there was no cure or prevention for this pest, however it was soon discovered that American vinifera had developed resistance to the pest. The solution was to graph the resistant American rootstock to the stems of the desired vitis vinifera.
Devastating bacterial disease which is now plaguing Californian vineyards. Transmitted by the glassy-winged sharp shooter, this infection is the greatest feared in all of the wine world for there is no cure and no vines are resistant to the infection. A vine will die within one to three years after infection.
The grape usually referred to as Auxerrois Blanc is a widely planted variety in Alsace, France. When properly managed it can make an agreeable white wine with character.
This grape is planted in Burgundy and Alsace, though it is much more respected and interesting in the latter. In Germany it is called Weissburgunder or "white burgundian". It is, understandably, often confused with Chardonnay, especially in Italy where it is widely planted. This is because the vines resemble one another and because the wines have a few common taste characteristics such as green apple, floral and buttery aromas. There is much Pinot Blanc in northeastern Italy, however the Italians favor Pinot Gris perhaps because it is less heavy and aromatic.
This grape, a descendent of Pinot Noir, is indigenous to France, but present in most wine growing regions of Europe. It can range in flavor profile from honeyed and spicy to clean, low in acid and light.Richest in Alscace and most neutral in Italy, this grape is appreciated by growers and drinkers alike as a pleasant, easy going wine which matches with many different kinds of food. America has grown to know and love this variety thanks to Santa Margherita's Pinot Grigio.
The tertiary, though indispensable, grape of the Champagne region extolled for its resistance to frost. It makes a vibrantly fruity wine with relatively low alcohol making it the clear choice for blending with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which can lack in fruitiness. Meunier means 'miller' and is so named because the leaves look white due to downy growth.
Burgundy's noble grape, and a truly ancient variety. This region and its grape are married, one relying and feeding off the other. In fact the term terroir is nowhere used as passionately and suggestively as in Burgundy, where they claim Pinot Noir grapes transport the terroir to the glass. Wherever Pinot Noir is planted outside of Burgundy, the winemakers are forever challenged to produce wines of parallel quality and flavor; even in Burgundy this grape is frustratingly difficult to grow and vinify, and has established a global reputation for being the most challenging grape to work with- and perhaps this is it's international appeal with winemakers. However, in some of the cooler regions of California and in Oregon, this variety has found as suitable a home as any. Because it is so prone to genetic mutations, the characteristics can vary drastically. However it is noted for its berry and cherry flavors, nice acidity and high alcohol content (often due to chaptalization). Pinot Noir is also an important grape in the Champagne region where it is carefully grown to produce some of the most intriguing aspects of the most renowned Champagnes.
Grape seed.
The period where a wine ceases to improve with aging and is at its most desirable stage for consumption.
The mass of crushed grape skins, stems and seeds which result from pressing or the crush.
The winemaking machine or tool which crushes the grapes, squeezing the juice from the grapes.
The opposite of free run juice, this is the liquid that results from pressing or after fermentation. It is significantly darker and more tannic than free-run and is used to give structure or backbone to a winery's blend.
Descriptor which originally was used for the winery's top wine, however because there is no legal definition the term has been abused and does not guarantee any level of quality.
Wine crushed, fermented and bottled by the winery. Must be true for at least 75 percent of the wine in the bottle.
The viticultural practice of trimming the buds from the vine in the spring. This is how a viticulturalist can control the number of bunches per vine and the vineyard's total yield.
The vinification process of draining the wine out from the bottom of a fermentation tank and pumping it, via a hose, to the top of the tank so that it runs through the cap and absorbs more phenolic compounds.
The divet or indentation at the bottom of the bottle which creates stability for wine bottles, especially sparkling wine bottles, which must withstand extra pressure. Now most wine bottles have it because of tradition or for show.

Protective measure of holding of plant and other organic materials as they are imported so as to prevent the possible spread of bacteria, contaminants, pests and diseases from crossing international borders.

The vinification process designed to separate the wine from the sediment which deposits at the bottom of a tank by moving, via a hose, wine from one tank or barrel to another.
Tasting term for a bright and pleasantly acidic wine.
Tasting term for wines with a dried raisin flavor usually caused by vinification of overripe grapes; can be present in desert wines as well.
Tasting term for a wine which is not ready to be consumed, often out of balance or with green tannins.
Term for a sparkling wine which had the lees removed just prior to bottling.
Same as Vin de Paille from France. Wine made from late-harvested grapes which have been layed out on straw and extensively dried out in order to produce extremely sweet and concentrated desert wines.
Replacement of an old, dried out cork. Practiced for wines which have undergone extensive bottle aging or cellaring. Often bottles need to be topped off with a little extra wine to make up for the wine lost in evaporation.
Wine that has not had any contact with the air can develop unpleasant smells and flavors due to chemical reactions which complement oxidation. Decanting can eliminate these odors.
The instrument used to measure the sugar level in grapes to determine harvest date. It is measured in Brix, Oechsle or Baume.
Large size bottle which holds to 4.5 liters of wine or six regular bottles. The Burgundian equivalent to Bordeaux's Jéroboam.
Spanish system for quality classification. To qualify, a red Riserva must spend at least three years barrel aging, with a minimum of one year in oak.
Another uncontrolled term on wine labels which is deceptive to consumers. It may truly indicates the best wine of the lot, but it has fallen victim to unjust marketing.
The sugar in a wine which is not transformed into alcohol during fermentation
Wines originating from Greece which have been flavored by the addition of resin. Initially, the Greeks lined their wine jugs with resin to compensate for the porous containers. The resin imparts its aromas and distinct flavor to the wines stored in these vessels. The Greeks developed a preference for wines with this flavor profile, and as well discovered that the resin also preserved the wine. Today, barrels are used, eliminating the need for a resin coating. Yet winemakers add resin staves in order to make resined wine, calling this wine RETSINA.
The airways which connect the olefactory region of the nose to the mouth, allowing individuals to fully smell a food or beverage.
Complementary tasting term for wines which have a full-body, roundness and intensity of flavors.
Sparkling winemaking process of incrementally turning the bottles which are on the lees and undergoing fermentation in order to circulate the liquid in the bottle.
This classic German grape is undoubtedly the most undervalued variety in the world. With an incredible interplay of sweet fruit aromas and pungent acidity, these wines are delicious young and have the greatest aging potential of any white variety, except perhaps Chenin Blanc. It is arguably the most versatile grape for food be it the dry or even botrytized styles. However, the image of this grape was tarnished by Blue Nun and Liebfraumilch, poor quality, uninteresting sweet German wines which flooded the international market and has still left a bad taste in many consumers' mouths- even though little Riesling was even used in those wines. Riesling is recognized for its ability to remain true to its varietal character while still incorporating the flavors and traits of the terroir. The Rieslings of Alsace are well-valued, though not widely exported. Australia, despite it's warmer climate has been making excellent Rieslings and New Zealand has cultivated this grape making wines modeled after traditional German Rieslings.
The thin surface of the wine where the wine meets the glass.
As with any fruit, the stage at which a grape is fully ripened.
Turning of the soil to aerate, fertilize and improve drainage before planting new vines.
The practice of pulling out established vines from the ground, either to change the varietal or clone planted, or because the law has forced a viticulturalist to remove his plantings. This is called arrachage in France, and was instated because of the wine glut experienced in much of Europe.
Extra aged Italian wine.
The root system of the vine which supports a grafted stem and fruit bearing parts of the desired vitis plant.
French for a pink wine, the term was adopted for pink hued wines in America as well which can range from nearly imperceptibly tinged to deep rose color. The only exceptions are pink wines made from red grapes labeled as, for instance, White Zinfandel.
Tasting term for a wine with over-dominant tannins or course tannins.
Tasting term for a smooth, voluptuous mouth-feel.
The more elegant sister to Marsanne, this grape variety and her sister are the only two allowed in northern Rhone appellations Hermitage, St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage. It is also one of the four whites allowed in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, known for its rather elusive aroma of white flowers and flowering herbs like a wild flower meadow. It is barely cultivated outside of the Rhone Valley.
Descriptor for wines made using old-fashioned or ultra-traditional methods without the use of modern technology.Can also be a tasting term for wines which smell of the country- barnyard, musk, leather, earth etc.

French word which means "bled". Free-run red grape juice is added or bled into a white wine or light rose wine during pre-fermentation in order to darken the hue.
A large format bottle holding 9 liters, the equivalent of 12 regular (750ml) bottles.
The tasting of a grape or wine, often from the barrel to discern a future wine's flavor profile and characteristics. This is a difficult task which only trained professionals can really properly perform as a young wine can be unpredictable and deceptive to the inexperienced.
The grape which makes the Tuscan wines of Italy, some of which are among the world's greatest such as Brunello di Montalcino, others among the wine world's least palatable. Much of the quality depends on the clone selection, the climate and vineyard management, and on the skills of the winemaker. It is also the main ingredient in Chianti though national regulations require the addition of other poorer quality grapes, hence the variable quality of these wines.
One of the most distinctly aromatic and richly flavorful white grape varieties. Interestingly, crossing it with Cabernet Franc resulted in Cabernet Sauvignon. Originally a grape indigenous to the Bordeaux region of France, it has traveled well all over the world, finding a great second home in New Zealand, South Africa and California. It has aromas of freshly cut grass, herbs like sage and thyme, grapefruit, pineapple, and at its most pungent a sweaty odor described by the french as "pipi de chat" or cat urine. The wines can be aged in oak, making them creamier and reducing some of the characteristic tartness, and the unoaked versions are some of the most seductive wines in the world- such as Sancerre or Puilly-Fume. New Zealand has received much acclaim for their tropical fruit-forwardness and bright acidity.
Thought to be an older version of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal, though there is some conjecture as to which is the chicken and which is the egg. Sauvignon Gris has more of a pinkish hue to its skin (it is also known as Sauvignon Rosé) and has similar levels of acidity as that of Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Gris does produce fruit with higher sugar levels than its cousin, which contribute to greater aromatics and a more rich and round feel to the wines. At one point these wines were highly prized yet due to the ridiculously low yields that the grape produces it almost became extinct. Currently it is enjoying a small revival in the Graves region of Bordeaux. This particular mutation of Sauvignon Blanc is also known as Fié or Fiét.
The most widely planted wine grape variety covering nearly 50,000 acres. It has always been the grape of choice for making the nationally popular Retsina wines.
French for dry; term used for wines which are not sweet.
Lesser quality bottlings of a winery's second wine.
Sparkling wine-making process where the wine is bottled and small amounts of sugar and yeast are added before the cap is sealed. This allows for a second fermentation to take place within the bottle. The carbon dioxide bi-product cannot escape and thus the bubbles which define a sparkling wine developed. Also malolactic fermentation in still wine.
The color pigments and tannins in wine, especially aged wines, bond and deposit at the bottom of the barrel of bottle. Sediment found typically in tannic, aged red wines can be astringent and give a gritty mouth-feel.
The grape which, along with Sauvignon Blanc, provides for the internationally renowned desert wines of Sauternes, just south of Bordeaux in France. Opulent wines made from botrytised grapes, they could be referred to as liquid gold- both because of their rich golden hue and the price tag. The complexity and appeal of Sauternes are undeniable. On its own it can produce lovely fine wines both in their youth and with age.
The concentration below which any aroma, taste or flavor cannot be detected by the human olefactory system. Individuals can vary greatly in their personal threshold for any given aroma or flavor.
The feature on a bottle where the neck meets the body. This can vary in shape, as seen when comparing a Bordelais bottle to that of Burgundy.
Spanish descriptor for wines which are not aged in oak.
Allowing a wine to remain in contact with the skins so as to absorb color and flavor.
Toasting of oak barrels can impart the aroma or flavor of smoke to a wine. In low concentration this adds an element of complexity to the flavor profile.
Tasting term for a wine with low acid content. This can either be a good or bad quality, depending on the overall balance of the wine.
The restaurant professional who is responsible for the selection and service of wine to diners. In order to be a sommelier you must have a certificate.
The overseeing of grape quality and elimination of poorer quality grape bunches during harvest in order to control final wine's quality.
The distance between vines in a vineyard; can vary from about three feet to eight feet. Generally, tighter spacing increases the competition between vines, producing fewer, more flavorful grapes.
Tasting term describing the flavor of a spice in a wine. The different spice flavors commonly found in wine are pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and curry. Red Zinfandel and Côte du Rhone often described as spicy.
Italian for sparkling wine.
Tasting term for the herbaceous and unpleasant greenness from a wine's extended contact with the grape stems or wine-making with unripe grapes .
Tasting term which describes how a wine's acidity, sugar, alcohol and tannins come together in the mouth.
The character of a wine as determined by the wine drinker or winemaker. Has no bearing on the quality of the wine.
Tasting term for any aspect of the wine's flavor or aroma profile which is in delicate quantities or intensity.
The resulting minimal residue left behind from the sulfur dioxide which is used to sterilize winemaking equipment and is dusted over grapes just prior to the crush and after fermentation in order to prevent spoilage of the wine.
Wines from Tuscany which fall into the IGT category though they are rated often above the more elite DOCG system. The Tuscan winemakers deviated from the elite system because they made the wine with non-permissible varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah rather than relying on the traditionally accepted varieties such as Sangiovese.
Tasting term used almost exclusively for Reds which describes well-integrated, velvety tannins.
French term meaning "on the lees". Wines are barrel aged on the lees in order to absorb added flavor complexity from the yeast cells and other sediments.
Tasting term or descriptor for a wine with a perceptible sweetness.
A grape grown mainly in Germany which can be likened in structure and flavor to Sauvignon Blanc though definitely does not have a comparable nose. These wines can have great body and sufficient acidity, though they can also be terribly bland. It is rather widely planted in Alsace but is basically absent from other regions. This grape is capable of strongly reflecting the terroir as is seen in Alsace.
The beloved grape variety of the Rhone River Valley, famous for its expressions as Cote Rotie and Hermitage in the north, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the south. It is being embraced in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France as this region undergoes a quality amelioration movement. It is known to Australians as Shiraz; what may seem as a bastardization of the name at first glance may actually be a nod to the grape's origins, which are suspected to be the ancient wine city of Iran, Shiraz. As with any most noble red varieties, Syrah needs time to display its finest character. Plantings in France have increased dramatically as the wine has spread around the wine-growing world. Syrah wines tend to be full-bodied, robust and fruity with spicy and often licorice and meaty overtones.

In American terminology, still wines with 7 to 14% alcohol content. When used in Europe, it usually indicates the lowest quality of wine.
A less expensive method for making sparkling wine. The Charmat method, named after its inventor, Monsieur Charmat, is used to produce bulk quantities of inexpensive sparkling wines. The second fermentation takes place in a pressurized tank, rather than in a bottle, decreasing lees contact and producing larger, coarser bubbles. The wine is filtered under pressure and bottled.
Element present in the grape and in wines found initially in the skins, stems and seeds.
Tasting term for a wine with notable concentrations of malic acid, making the mouth pucker. Can be positive or negative, depending largely on the individual drinking the wine.
The main acid present in the grape and in wines.
The insoluble crystals which can form in a wine after bottling. These do not affect the flavor of a wine and are not harmful in anyway. There are methods which can reduce the formation of these crystals.
The perception of sour, salty, bitter sweet and the more recently discovered umami (sensation of meat or protein) that are sensed by the taste-buds.
The wide, round, shallow silver cup which winemakers and sommeliers use to taste a wine, especially helpful in dark cellars because the metal reflects any light allowing for the wine to be seen more clearly.
The deliberate assessment of a wine's color, aroma, flavor, length and structure, and overall quality.
The written documentation taken during a tasting.
See legs.
The temperature of the grape must has to be carefully controlled during fermentation in order to provide the proper environment for the yeasts to prosper. Too much or too little heat will kill or deactivate the yeast cells.
The grape variety highly regarded in Spain's renowned Rioja region. Accounts for approximately 50% of the vineyards in Rioja, concentrated in the more prestigious areas of the region, whereas Garnacha is planted as the less prestigious grape. Produces relatively high yields of flavorful, perfumed, full-bodied wines.
System for planting vines in step-like rows in order to facilitate cultivation on steep slopes. This system is seen in its most dramatic displays in Switzerland's Valais region and in the Douro valley in northern Portugal.
French terminology which has now been adopted nearly world-wide to indicate the unique combination or climate, soil composition and location which is believed to contribute to the quality and character of a wine. A wine is often said to reflect the terroir from whence it came.
Tasting term which indicates how a wine feels in the mouth. The texture can be, for example, smooth, rough, silky, or velvety.
Tasting term describing a wine with less than adequate body or texture.
The government and state controlled alcohol distribution system unique to the United States of America. Almost without exception, a wine must pass from producer or importer (Tier 1) to the wholesaler or distributor (Tier 2) to the retail shops or restaurant (Tier 3) before it can be had by the consumer.
Red wine is often called Vino Tinta in Spain and Portugal.
In traditional method champagne making, the addition of a small dose of liquid containing wine, sugar (25g/l) and yeast to the base wine just before bottling which provides the necessary ingredients for the bottled alcoholic fermentation that makes champagne.
Tasting term for a wine lacking in fruit, acidity and personality.
All oak barrels are subject to a small flame which toasts the inner surface, thus caramelizing the resin in the wood and giving better flavor to a wine stored therein.
Tasting term for wines with a toasted bread character.
Viticultural method of forcing the vine to grow in a certain manner or direction. The training of a vine has enormous influence on the ultimate quality and flavors of the grapes.
Technique for making sparkling wine sometimes called the Charmat Method. After the second fermentation in the bottle and a short period of sur lieaging (but before riddling) the wine is transferred - with sediment -- to a pressurized tank. The wine is then filtered under pressure and bottled. With the enormous savings in labor and time, the wines are slightly less intense and less creamy than those produced using the more time-consuming and expensive méthode traditionelle.
Also known as Ugni Blanc in France, this variety covers much of the world's vineyard surfaces despite its rather undistinguished character. In Italy it is liked for it's fresh, light, refreshing style. Ugni Blanc is used nearly exclusively for the production of Cognac's base wines. Statistics reveal that it is responsible for more wine than any other variety.
As with most types of vine, the grapevine's natural tendency is to sprawl with vigor. Therefore the viticulturalist uses a trellising system to reduce sprawl and give the vine a framework, made of stakes and/or wire, to structure the growth. The style of the trellis depends on the desired training method.

See fill level. Refers to the excessive space in a bottle or barrel which should be minimized so as to prevent oxidation.
Chinese taste term which has been universally accepted as the fifth taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Though a long established concept in Eastern culture, umami is revolutionary in western thought concerning how we taste food. Protein rich and cured foods, soy sauce, seafood and mushrooms contain umami. Tannins or the toasted characters in wines are accentuated by umami.

Term for a wine made from a single grape variety.
Term for the actual species of vine. An example is Merlot.
Tasting term for a wine with herbal and green vegetable flavors. Types of vegetal smells are asparagus and bell pepper. Depending on intensity and appropriateness for the variety, this can be a positive or a negative descriptor.
Late harvest in French.
French for harvest.
The period in late summer when a grape begins to ripen and the color develops from green to its final color.
The amount of a vine's growth, can be either high or low vigor. Overly vigorous vines produce thinner wines, so most viticulturalists attempt to control the vigor of a vine.
Late harvested grapes which are then dried on hay or "paille" for months in order to further concentrate the sugars. The resulting wine is intense, voluptuous and sweet.
French for "wine of the country". In terms of quality, these wines are one level above vin de table.
French meaning Stored or leftover wine. This is the term for the wine that is carefully stored from prior vintages and used in the production of future champagnes or wines to help keep a winery or house style consistent from year to year.
French for "naturally sweet wines"; but these wines are made by adding alcohol to arrest the conversion of sugar into alcohol, known as mutage, keeping the sugar concentration relatively high. They must have at least 14% alcoholic content to classify. These wines come out of southern France and are made from Grenache or Muscat, producing highly aromatic desert wines.
The science of winemaking.
Italian for table wine. Like in the rest of Europe, this term is used for bulk wine of lesser quality.
Spanish for table wine, but unlike in America, this term denotes wines of the lowest quality.
Spanish quality category denoting wines produced in a specific region with an average level of quality.
Spanish for young wine. Denotes a wine which should be drunk as soon as it is bottled.
Tasting term for wines which smell or taste plainly of wine or alcohol but have no real character.
Term which indicates the year the grapes were harvested in order to produce the wine, not the year the wine is bottled or goes to market.
Term used in America for the wine producer or winemaker.
This variety is surprisingly well known given the fact that fewer than 100 acres of it are planted over the entire globe. Despite its miniscule vineyard coverage, it manages to make a name for itself due to its amazingly tantalizing flavor and aroma profile- and perhaps its rarity is part of the appeal. It provides some of the most sought after Rhone Valley white wines, with orange blossom, white flowers, summer fruits and pear. In California small plantings have been imported.
Tasting term for a thick, heavy wine. Usually used to describe desert wines.
An American term which denotes a legally defined grape-growing region (also known as American Viticultural Area, Or AVA). See also appellation
The science of grape growing.
Grape variety indigenous to North Eastern America under which the concord grape falls.
Traditional European grape varieties which have been internationally recognized as fine wine grapes. See International Varieties
VOLATILE (or Volatile Acidity)
Tasting term used to describe excess amounts of acetic acid, making the wine smell or taste (if you get that far) like vinegar.
Oak cultivated from the Vosges Mountains in the Alsace region of France used for barrels.
French Abbreviation for Vin de Qualité Produit dans une Région Determinée. This is the general classification term adopted by the entire European Union for a Quality Wine Produced in a Designated Region.

The state when a vine or other plant suffers from a lack of water. This can actually be beneficial for the production of quality grapes, as reduced quantities of water will concentrate the flavor compounds, sugars and acids in relation to the water content in the grapes.
The changing temperature, winds, and precipitation and humidity which are responsible for our day to day environmental conditions. The weather of a region, when taken as an average over the course of the year defines the climate.
Winemakers differentiate between wild and indigenous yeasts. The former describes the undesirable yeasts that are blamed for unpleasant odors or flavors in a wine, whereas the latter is the kind of yeasts sought after by many winemakers.

Greece's most respected and widely planted indigenous variety linked primarily to northern Greece's Naoussa region. Xinomavro is a deeply hued variety with pleasantly strong acids which contributes to its aging potential. Many modern Greek winemakers have found that this variety blends superbly with softer, fruitier varieties such as Merlot.

The minute organisms that are responsible for the transformation of sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, aka fermentation. The primary yeast in wine fermentation is the same as what makes beer ferment and breads rise.
The amount of grapes, weighed in pounds, that a specific vineyard produces in a given year. Yields are controlled by either the vintner or a limit may be imposed by the appellation if the winery falls into one.

California's namesake variety whose roots trace back to antiquity (the exact origins of which had been a major research topic until it was discovered that Zinfandel is descended from Plavac Mali of Croatia). The grape of many hats, Zinfandel is most becoming as a dry, ruby red, fruit-filled red wine, but also fashionable as an off-dry blush, a clean white, a base for sparkling wine, and as a fortified desert style wine. This variety is not planted much outside of the US, and is becoming more widely respected as a serious varietal contender with great aging capacity.