Wine Dictionary and Glossary of Wine Terms

Improve your wine vocabulary with this comprehensive glossary of wine terms. Learn about all the different wine terms to describe wines and other terminology.



Italian wine term to describe an off-dry, slightly sweet, medium-bodied wine. They usually have between 7-15 g/liter of residual sugar in the case of still wines, between 12-35 g/liter in the case of frizzante wines, and between 32-50 g/liter in the case of sparkling wines.


An acronym for "Anything but Chardonnay" or "Anything but Cabernet," conceived by Bonny Doon's Randall Grahm to refer to wine consumers interested in grape varieties.

Acciao (It)

Italian wine term to reffer to an element made of stainless steel

Acerbo (It)

Italian wine term to reffer to unripeness


Italian wine term to describe an off-dry, slightly sweet, medium-bodied wine.

Acetic Acid

A vinegary substance produced by bacteria during fermentation. If produced at low levels, it creates more complex flavors and aromas in the wine. If this substance is produced in excess, it results in a more vinegary taste.

Aciditá (It)

Italian wine term to reffer to the level of acidity of a wine


Acidity is a natural component of wine, which balances the sweetness of the wine. Acidity values that are too high will result in a wine that is too acidic, or aggressive, while values that are too low will result in a wine that is too flat and commonly referred to as “flabby”.

Acido (It)

Italian wine term to reffer to a specific type of acid, such as Acetic Acid  or Tartaric Acid

Acidulo (It)

Italian wine term to reffer to a wine that has excessive acidity, and its almost sour.

Acino (It)

Italian wine term to reffer to a grape of berry.


Adega is a Portuguese term and carries a different meaning depending on the context. It could refer to the place where wine is produced or, like garrafeira, where wine is stored. It could also refer to a restaurant with a great wine selection. It is the Spanish equivalent of a bodega.


Exposing wine to that achieved by opening the bottle and letting the wine breath for a few hours, swirling the wine in a glass or putting the wine through a decanter or an aerator.


Italian wine term to reffer to the process of finishing or refinement of a wine


Refers to the flavors that remain on the palate after tasting a wine. It is a very important indicator of the character and quality of a wine. A desired effect in wine is a long finish where the wine flavor profile lingers in the drinker’s mouth.


Describes the age of the wine. Aged wines are usually kept in the cellar for several years. This improves the quality of the wine.


Italian term to reffer to an agronomist or agricultural scientist


The main by-product of wine fermentation.


A term used in wine tasting to describe a perceived high alcohol content. Colloquially also referred to as “hot”. This occurs when the wine is out of balance and the alcohol profile overpowers the other dimensions of the wine.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

Indicates the amount of alcohol in a bottle of wine. The abbreviation is ABV, and a bottle of wine contains an average of between 5.5% and 20% ABV. This is not a precise number and most regulators allow variation of +/-1%.


Italian wine term to reffer to specific types of alcohol. Especially used when talking about ethyl alcohol.


It is a wine region in France, part of the recently amalgamated Eastern France administrative region, where world-renowned dry white wines are produced from different grape varieties. Among them are Riesling and Gewürztraminer, also used to make sweet wines. This region is also known for its Late Harvest wine (vin de vendanges tardives), a very rare sweet wine, highly valued by wine connoisseurs.


It is a forest region in France, from which the Troncais woods come from. They are widely used in the manufacture of wine barrels, due to their tight grains reducing imperfections and minimizing the exposure to oxygen through the pores of the wood.


It is a soil used for the production of wine grapes, which combines rocks, sand, stones and gravel.


Italian wine term to describe a semi sweet wine

Amaro (It)

(adjective) possessing bitterness; (noun) a liqueur characterized by bitterness.

Amarognolo (It)

Italian term to describe a wine with a subtle hint of bitterness.

Amarone (or Amarone della Valpolicella)

Is an Italian red wine, made from partially dried out grapes, known for its great body and ripeness, in addition to its low acidity values.

Ambra (It)

Italian term for the amber color in some wines

Ambrato (It)

Italian term to describe a wine that has a color that tends to be brown

Amino Acids

Organic compounds present in wine. Red wine contains between 30 and 1300 mg/L of amino acids, of which Polina accounts for up to 85%.

Ampio (It)

Italian term to reffer tocertain caracteristics of a wine, such as amplitude, richness  or complexity


This term is used in wine tasting to describe young wines, with a predominantly bitter or sour taste.

Anice (It)

Italian term to describe the licorice flavor in certain wines.

Anidride Carbonica (It)

Italian term for carbon dioxide

Anidride Solforosa (It)

Italian term for sulfur dioxide

Annata (It)

Italian term for the vintage of a wine


These are the pigments in the grape skin that give red wines their characteristic color.


A term used to refer to the loss of smell.


Appassimento is an Italian winemaking technique used to produce certain types of wines, most notably the famous Amarone and Recioto wines from the Veneto region of Italy. The term "appassimento" translates to "drying" or "wilting" in Italian, and the process involves drying the grapes before fermentation. The selected grapes are laid out in well-ventilated drying rooms or on racks to undergo a drying period. This can last from several weeks to a few months. During this time, the grapes lose water through evaporation, which concentrates the sugars and flavors within the grapes.


A term that describes the appearance of wine before it is consumed. Generally, the color of the wine is determined by the color of the grape skin used to make it. With some exceptions, like orange or amber wine is produced from white grapes, “blanc de noirs” wines are produced from primarily red grapes (outside of the English language most commonly referred as black grapes).


The name given to the geographic regions from which the grapes for a wine have been sourced. In the United States, appellations are known as American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). According to U.S. law, if a wine indicates its AVA, at least 85% of the grapes must come from it. In addition, if the vineyard is indicated, then 95% of the grapes must come from that vineyard. On the other hand, in Canada they are known as Viticultural Areas or Geographical Indications (GI). The rules are incredibly complex and change over time. Some producers choose to label their wine generically, as table wines, as conformity reduces their ability to innovate and be creative.

Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC)

These are the French laws for the appellation of origin of wines. Among other functions, they help the consumer determine the quality and origin of wines, in addition to setting standards for alcohol content and grape varieties used in each wine.

Armonico (It)

Italian term to describe a wine with great balance


Aroma is the essence given off by the wine. It is closely associated with the flavors of the wine.

Aroma Compounds

These are chemical compounds with very low molecular weights. This makes it possible for them to be transported to the upper nasal passage. Aroma compounds come from grapes and fermentation and are volatilized by the evaporation of alcohol.


A wine is said to be aromatized when it has added botanical substances. A clear example is Vermouth.

Arrichimento (It)

Italian term to describe the process of increasing the sugar content of the grape must  

Asciuto (It)

Italian term to refeer to a bone dry wine

Assagio (It)

Italian term for a taste or sample ofwine


A French term used to refer to the grape varieties used in the blend of a wine.

Assemblaggio (It)

Italian term for the process of blending wines


The initial taste that appears in the mouth when tasting a wine. Typically the primary flavors are the ones that are associated with attack.


A German term used to refer to wines made from very ripe bunches of grapes, resulting in a very intense flavor and aroma. This type of wines are dry, and usually have a higher amount of alcohol than other dry wines.


It is a French wine, made with Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes in the Bordeaux region. It is a very elegant wine, even though it is often underrated due to other more well-known wines, such as Château Lataur and Château Margaux.


This tasting term is often used to describe wines with a rough taste. They are usually young wines with high levels of acidity or tannins, although they can be both.

Autoclave (It)

Italian term for a presurized tank


Italian term for indigenous or authoctonous of a particular region


A tasting term used to describe unbalanced wines. Usually this imbalance occurs between the percentage of fruit and acidity or between acidity and the presence of tannins

Azienda Agricola

Italian term for vineyards with cellars and a form of a legal entity in agriculture.

Azienda Vinicola

Italian term for wineries.


Bacca (It)

Italian wine term for grape or berry


Hybrid white grape originating from Germany, and now also grown in other countries


An expression used to describe full-bodied and balanced wines.


A common trait in young wines, meaning that the aromatic qualities and flavor of the wine are not yet recognizable to the taster.


Large wine-growing region of Germany where grapes are planted along the edge of the Black Forest. Most of the German vines of the grape used in Pinot Noir red wines and Pinot Gris and Muller-Thurgau white grapes are found here.


Tasting term that refers to the harmony between the different components of a wine: alcohol, fruit, acidity and tannins. Ideally, these components should be in perfect proportion to each other.


This is the name given to 12-liter bottles. It is the equivalent of 16 regular bottles of wine.

Ban de Vendange

This is the name given to the beginning of the harvest season in France.

Barile (It)

Italian wine term for a small wine barrel made of wood, that can hold up-to 50 liters


Wines with this aroma are best described as earthy, as they possess aromas reminiscent of a barn. In small doses, this can be a positive trait, but in large quantities it is a defect.


Barolo is one of Italy's finest and most expensive wines taking its name after the eponymous region. Often referred to as "the king of wines and the wine of kings", it is full-bodied and made in the Piedmont (Piemonte) region from Nebbiolo grapes.

Barrel or Barrique

It is a vessel used for the aging of wines. They are usually made of oak and hold less than 500 liters.

Barrel Fermented

A term used for wines whose fermentation was carried out in barrels rather than in tanks. This occurs most often in the production of white wines, although some producers use barrels to ferment red wine.

Barrel Tasting

A term used when a wine is tasted by a taster before bottling.


A French term used to refer to the process of removing dead yeasts at the bottom of the tank. This allows new flavors, aromas and textures to develop in the wine.


It is the abbreviation used for the city of Bordeaux.


It refers to the size of the bubbles in Champagne, Cremant, Cava or other types of sparkling wine. Bubbles are usually affected by factors such as temperature: the colder the wine, the less effervescence it will have. Typically, the smaller the bubbles the more refined is the wine.


A clay, typically in the form of small clay tile, widely used in fining to clarify the wine so that the wine does not appear cloudy.


Beaune is considered the unofficial capital of Burgundy wine, produced in France.


A wine-growing district in the south of France with ten Grand Cru villages, in which a red wine of the same name is produced. The wines of the region are made from the Gamay grape, and are generally light and fruity.

Beaujolais Nouveau

AOC rules dictate that wine could be sold after December 15 in the year of harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau bears the exception and is released on the third Thursday of November. The wine comes from the Beaujolais region and as the name suggests it is a young wine that is fragrant and full of aromas.


It is a wine characterized by being big and masculine. It is a synonym of the term Brawny.


It is a term used to indicate a level of quality in the Prädikatswein systems used in Austria and Germany. In both countries, the grape berries are hand sorted for the presence of Botrytis cinerea.


Bernkastel is a village located on the banks of the Moselle River in Germany. One of the country's most famous wines, Doctor Bernkastle, is produced there.


Another term used to refer to wine grapes.

Berry Scent

It is the characteristic smell of red wine. They can be reminiscent of blackberries, strawberries, cherries, black raspberries, red raspberries or even blueberries or blackberries.

Berthomeau Report

This is the name of a report commissioned by the French Ministry of Agriculture to better position the wine sector for the future. It bears the name of Jacques Berthomeau, author of the report, and an influential wine consultant.

Bianco (It)

Italian term for white wines

Bicchiere (It)

Italian term for a wineglass


A wine is considered big when it contains high percentages of ripe fruit. If the wine is balanced, this is not a problem, but wines that are too big and unbalanced do not offer a pleasant tasting experience.


A term that originally designated the place in a cellar where wine was stored, but is now often used in the marketing of some wines. For example, in the wine Bin 75 Merlot


Italian wine term for biodynamic viticulture

Biodynamic Wine

Wines produces according to the guidelines of the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association. These wines are made using a holistic production method, without the addition of chemicals. Some of the certifying bodies that can appear on the labels of these wines are Demeter and Respekt-


A term used in France and other French speaking countries to refer to organic farming and winemaking.


If a bitter taste predominates on the finish of a wine, it is considered a defect. Any flavor profile that is too pronounced is an undesirable effect. The mastery of a winemaker shines where they can weave the flavors in perfect harmony.

Blanc de Blancs

This term, which means "white of white" in French, is used to refer to white wines made exclusively from white grapes. It is primarily used in reference to wines from Champagne.

Blanc de Noirs

In French, the expression means "white from black" and is used to refer to white wines made from red grapes, usually Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier. It is primarily used in reference to wines from Champagne.


This name is given to the process of blending (i.e. combining) wines. Blends can be made with red and white grapes, with grapes of a single color or even with a single type of wine, different parcels of vineyard and so forth. The possibilities are endless.

Blind Tasting

In this tasting process, the taster does not know the identity of the wine. Simple blind occurs when the taster only knows the type of wine, while double blind means that the taster does not know any information about the wine.


A registered trademark describing rosé wines. They are most commonly made by preventing the skins from remaining in prolonged contact with the grape juice. Thus, the wine obtains only a pinkish hue.


A dark-colored red wine with high alcohol, concentrated flavor and intensity.

Bollicine (It)

Italian term for the bubbles of a wine

Bone Dry

A measure of the sweetness of wines. This type of wine has no residual sugar. They can be very tannic or have high acidity. Typically, these are wines with less than 2 to 3 grams of residual sugar per liter.


Bordeaux is one of France's major wine regions. The term is also used to refer to the wines made in the region. Over 215,000 acres of vineyards grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes for red wines and Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for white wines, producing some 35 million cases of wine per year.

Bordeaux Blend

A wine made from Bordeaux grape varieties, such as: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Malbec could be used in some Bordeaux blends outside the Bordeaux region.

Botrizzato (It)

Italian term for botryticed (grapes afected by Botrytis)

Botrytis Cinerea

Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic fungus that develops in grape bunches. The first, grey rot, is the result of consistently wet or humid conditions, and typically results in the loss of the affected bunches. The second, noble rot, occurs when drier conditions follow wetter, and can result in distinctive sweet dessert wines, such as Sauternes and Tokai.

Botte (It)

Italian term for a wine barrel,  which usually have a capacity for 200 liters of wine or more

Bottiglia (It)

Italian term for wine bottle


Small container with a neck narrower than the body, used for bottling wine. Most commonly corks or screw caps are used to close it. Although in the case of some sparkling wines, a crown cap is used to close the bottle.

Bottle Age

A concept used to determine how long the wine has been aged in bottle before releasing for sales.

Bottle Shock

A temporary condition of the wine, also known as "bottle-sickness". It usually occurs immediately after bottling, or when wines are agitated during travel. It commonly results from wide variation in temperature and storing conditions.

Bottle Variation

The temperature at which wine of the same style and aging, already bottled, can vary.


Italian term for a wooden vessel, typically made of Slavonian or Croatian oak, used for aging wines. Typically, the vessel is much larger than a barrel/barrique and hold 1000 liters. Bottis are used for many years and winemakers prefer them when they want to give the wine the opportunity to micro oxygenate without imparting wood flavors on the wine.


Tasting term describing the complex aromas developed by some young wines as they age.


City located in the Loire Valley, in France, known for its excellent wines. The red wine Bourgeuil is produced in this region, from the Cabernet Franc variety.


French term used to refer to Burgundy, a wine-producing region located in central-eastern France. The wines produced in this region, especially those of the Côte d'Or, are among the most distinguished in the world.

Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains

This red wine is made in southern Burgundy from Pinot Noir (at least 33%) and Gamay grapes. It is a wine that is rarely exported to the United States.

Box Wine

Wine packaged in a plastic bag and protected by a cardboard box. Also, commonly referred to as a Bag-in-Box or BIB.


A yeast that can produce defects in wine, such as barnyard flavors. Colloquially abbreviated to just Brett.


This type of wine is characterized by high levels of tannins and alcohol content.


As red wines mature or age, their color lightens from purple to dark red to ruby and finally to brick red. A synonym for Bricking is Browning.


A term used to designate acidic fruits that are added to wine.A term used to designate acidic fruits that are added to wine.


The sugar content of grapes, which allows the winemaker to measure the potential alcohol content of a wine before making it.


In Bordeaux, a broker is the same as a Courtier (a person who acts as an intermediary between the Château and the merchants). Outside Bordeaux, brokers act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers of wine.


Wines with darker hues and more intense flavors.


A French term for a Champagne or a very dry wine. What is labeled as dry wine various by country. From a residual sugar perspective, is anything under 1 gram of residual sugar per liter.

Bud Burst

Term that designates the moment when the vines begin to produce their first new buds for the growing season. This occurs during the spring in the Northern hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern hemisphere.

Buccia (d’uva)

Italian term for grape skin


The closure used on a barrel. It could be as simple as a wood stopper or semi-sophisticated piece of equipment intended to let the fermenting gasses escape the vessel while preventing oxygen from entering the vessel.


The opening in a barrel, through which wine can be introduced or extracted.

Butyric Acid

A flaw in wines that produces rancid dairy odors.


This is the descriptor given to Chardonnay that has a buttery character. These characteristics are found in Chardonnay that have completed malolactic fermentation.


Cabernet Franc

It is one of the international red grape varieties, very common in Bordeaux, characterized by a grassy and leafy flavor and a fleshy texture. The grape has gained significant popularity with plantings common throughout the wine growing world.

Cabernet Sauvignon

It is one of the international red grape varietals, very common in Bordeaux. Powerful and tannic red grape. It is the base of the best wines in countries such as Chile and South Africa.

Caldo (It)

Italian term forthe hot sensation that can cause some wines with high alcohol content

California Cult Wines

Some Californian wines for which consumers and others pay higher prices than Bordeaux's First Growths.

Cannella (It)

Italian term to describe cinnamon notes that may appear in some wines

Cane Pruning

Consists of cutting back one or two canes from the previous year's vine growth to six to fifteen buds that will be the grape producers for the next growing season.


Refers to the parts of the vine that grow above the ground, such as the shoots and the leaves.


Aging method used in Madeira wines, that involves putting the wines in American oak casks. The casks are situated in places where they receive enough sunlight to be slowly heated. Usually, withthis method arround 7% of the wine is lost every year, via evaporation, so the winemaker must decide when to transfer the caskets to a cooler place, in order to regulate the ammount of wine lost.

Cantina (It)

Italian term for cellar or winery

Cantina Sociale (It)

Italian term for cooperative winery

Caratello (singular) or Caratelli (plural)

Caratelli are small, traditionally wooden barrels used in Italian winemaking, particularly famous for aging Vin Santo, a type of Italian dessert wine. These barrels typically have a capacity ranging from 50 to 100 liters. The small size of the caratelli facilitates a high degree of contact between the wine and the wood, significantly influencing the aging process. The wine inside develops a concentrated flavour due to the slow evaporation through the wood, which is further enhanced by the oxidative environment within the barrel. This method imparts distinctive characteristics to the wine, such as deep colour, richness, and complex flavors.

Caratteristico (It)

Italian term to refer to something that is characteristic of a grape variety, wine or region


Carmenere is one of the six varieties permitted in Bordeaux for red wine blends, but currently winemakers in the region only use it in small quantities.

Carbonic or Carbonic Maceration

Carbonic maceration is a winemaking process that takes place during fermentation to produce fresh, fruit-forward, low-tannin red wines. Carbonic maceration uses whole clusters of grapes in a sealed, anaerobic, carbon dioxide-filled tank to start fermentation within each grape.

Cap Classique

An association of South African producers that focuses on promoting traditional method sparkling wines fermented in bottle and aged "en tirage".

Cascina (It)

Italian term for ''farmhouse''

Castagno (It)

Italian term for a chestnut tree or its wood, which can be used to make casks or tanks


A unit of the persistence of a wine's finish in seconds. A wine can have a caudalie of 8 or more seconds.


Spanish sparkling wine, crafted mainly with Macabeo, Charelo and Parellada white grapes. This wine is very popular in regions like Cataluña, and has its own Denomination of Origin. To learn more about this wine, you can read our in-depth guide here.

Cavatappi (It)

Italian term for corkscrew


French term to refer to the varieties of grapes planted in a vineyard.


Cedar is a common aroma in Bordeaux wines from the Medoc appellations, similar to cedar wood.

Cellar Door

This is the area of the winery where the point of sale is located. It can be a tasting room or a separate sales area.


Aging wine in order to improve or store it. It is usually done in any dry and cool area (12-16°C), dark, without drastic temperature changes and without vibrations.

Cerasuolo (It)

Italian term for a deep red color. It is also a type of wine that has that color

Champagne Flute

A refined wine glass, with a long stem and a tall, narrow bowl at the top, specifically designed to emphasize the beads in the wine and concentrate the aromas in the glass.

Charmat Method

Method for producing sparkling wines. In this method, the second fermentation does not take place in the bottle, but in a large stainless steel tank. The method is also known as the Tank Method, Cuve Close (translates to closed tank), Italian Method (Metodo Italiano) or the Marinotti method.


Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a French wine, and an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) located around the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhône wine region in southeastern France. The wines and the AOC often get abbreviated to CNDP.


A wine tasting term describing full-bodied, intensely flavored wines. They are usually very concentrated and have a large amount of tannins.


Italian term for wines with a very light pink color.

Chiusura (It)

Italian term for the closure of a wine bottle

Cigar Box

Term describing the odors found in older Bordeaux wines.

Citric Acid

One of the three predominant acids in wine.


Italian term to refer to a historic wine region or a traditional wine style


Type of soil most often found in the Pomerol and Saint Emilion regions. Clay is characterized by its ability to retain moisture in the soil. A very important factor depending upon the region and the grape variety. It is well suited for growing Merlot.

Cleanskin (aka as Naked Bottle)

In Australia, it is a bottled wine without a commercial label. It is usually sold at a low price and in bulk.


Term used to describe wines that are too sweet (sickly sweet) and without too much acidity, disrupting the wine harmony and reducing the quality of the wine.


Term used to refer to a cluster of grapes


Abbreviation for the French region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.


Term used to refer to wines that are rough and rustic in nature.

Coates Law of Maturity

Principle relating to the aging capacity of wine, which states that a wine will remain at its peak (or optimum) drinking quality for as long as it took to reach the point of maturity.

Cold Duck

A blend of red and white sparkling wine that has a high sugar content.

Cold Stabilization

A fining process, typically undertaken in stainless steel vessels, in which wine is cooled to near freezing temperatures for several weeks. This favors the precipitation of tartrate crystals.

Colle/Colli (It)

Italian term to refer to a hill.

Collina (It)

Italian term to refer to a small hill.

Collo (It)

Italian term for the neck of a wine bottle

Colmatura (It)

Italian term for the process of topping up a barrel

Colore (It)

Italian term to refer to a color, generally of a wine


Concentrated wines show a very fruity and deep flavor.


Machine that removes excess water from the grapes to concentrate the flavor of the wine. This is the mechanized way of dehydrating wines as opposed to laying the grape bunches on grattici or straw mats under the sun to raisinate the grapes.

Confezionamiento (It)

Italian term to refer to the packaging of a wine, composed by the closure and the bottle

Consorzio (It)

Italian term for a consortium of winemakers from a specific region, that regulates the wines produced within the area.

Consumatore (It)

Italian term to refer to a consumer of wines

Consumo (It)

Italian term for the consumption of wines

Conventional wine

A wine produced using conventional (mass production) methods using a lot of technology and chemical components that are non0native or naturally occurring in the winemaking process. Conventional wines can contain up to 200 additive ingredients. Conventional wines are diametrically opposite to Vin SAINS and Natural wines.


A term used to refer to wines that have been exposed to very high temperatures. This type of wine usually has a stewed fruit flavor.

Cooperativo (It)

Same as Cantina Sociale

Coppa (It)

Italian term for cup or goblet

Corpo (It)

Italian term for the body of a wine

Corposo (It)

Italian term for a full -bodied wine

Corto (It)

Italian term for a wine that last for a short time andhas a low persistence in the mouth


Term used on French wine labels to refer to wines that were not produced in contiguous vineyards.


French term that refers to a problem produced during flowering, which causes the flowers of the bunch to fall off. When this occurs, the grape cluster reduces its yield and the grapes develop unevenly in size and ripeness.


A method of blending wine before bottling.

Cordon Training

Vine training method. Cordon vines have one or two shoots (branches) extending from the top of the vine trunk.


Tasting term to describe wines with a cork odor. Generally, this odor is produced by a dirty or TCA-infected cork. It only occurs with natural cork as opposed to the engineered or synthetic corks.

Country wine

Intermediate quality level between table wine and quality wine. In France it is known as Vin de Pays, while in Italy it is known as Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT).


Semi-sparkling wine with some effervescence. It is also known as Frizzante. The intensity of the bubbles determines the classification of the wine.


Term used to describe wines that have a creamy texture.


A French sparkling wine, made using the Méthode Champenoise, but in regions outside of Champagne. Under European and French laws only the wines from the Champagne region, made using the Méthode Champenoise, can be called Champagne.

Cru Artisan

Classification of Bordeaux estates, below Cru Bourgeois

Cru Bourgeois

Classification of quality Bordeaux estates in the Médoc, which were not part of the Bordeaux classification in 1855.

Cru Classé

French term for an officially classified vineyard or winery.

Cult wines

Term to refer to wines for which committed buyers will pay large sums of money, mainly because of their desirability and rarity. Demand significantly outstrips supply, the wines typically have long ageability, and are traded like stocks.

Cuoio (It)

Italian term todescribe the leather notes that can appear in some wines


French term for the maceration of wine. In this process, the color of the grapes, aroma and tannins are transferred to the wine. This is achieved by keeping the grape skins in contact with the juice during the production of red wine.

Cuve Close

Synonym of Charmat Method


French term for the place where wine vinification takes place.



Refers to a process in which the must of a white wine is allowed to settle before the wine is racked. This process is done to reduce the need for fining and/or filtration


The process of transferring wine from one bottle to another container, usually to aerate a young wine or separate an older wine from any sediment.


Decadence in a wine is a good thing. They usually have mouth-filling textures.

Dégorgement Tardive

French term for a champagne that has aged at rest for an exceptionally long time (period exceeding 5 to 10 years).

Degustazione (It)

Italian term for a wine tasting


French term to describe the part of the winemaking process when the wine is racked and returned during vinification. This process not only allows to keep moisture in the wine, but also helps to obtain more raw material that provides color and flavor.


Delicacy is a quality often sought in light bodied wines, such as Pinot Noir.


Dense wines are full of high levels of raw material. This allows the wine's flavor to be concentrated

Denominazione (It)

Italian term for a wine denomination or appellation

Densità (It)

Italian term for the density of planting of a vineyard


Wines with depth have several layers of concentrated flavor.


The process of separating the grape berries from the stem is called destemming.


The removal of shoots that do not bear fruit.


Organic compound found in wine that tastes like butter. Diacetyl comes from oak aging and malolactic fermentation.


Italian document that contains all the regulations that a particular wine must comply with to be able to have in the label the name of a deniomination or appellation.


Process by which the final sediment is removed from traditionally made sparkling wines before dosage is added. Bottles are stored on racks at 45 degree angle and rotated a quarter turn to allow for the spent lees and sediment to gather in the neck of the bottle and disgorged (removed) from the bottle.


Used to describe wines with elegant, sophisticated and refined character.

Distributore (It)

Italian term to refer to a wine distributor


Wine with odors foreign to those of the grapes, fermentation or aging.


It is the abbreviation for Appellation of Origin (Denominación de Origen) in Spanish. It is also the abbreviation for dissolved oxygen, which greatly affects the oxidation of the wine and its aging properties.

Double Decanting

Double decanting is a process in which wine is poured from the bottle into a decanter. The bottle is then washed to remove sediment and the wine is poured back into the original bottle.


This is the abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or "controlled appellation of place". This is the Italian designation for wines whose name, origin, grape varieties and other important factors are regulated by law. It is also the abbreviation for Portugal's top wine category, which has the same meaning in that country.


Abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, or Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, which is the highest ranking category of wines in Italy. The Disciplinare in Italy sets out the rules to be followed by appellation in order for a wine to be designated: DOCG, DOC, IGT, VdT, etc.

Dolce (It)

Italian term for a sweet wine. In the case of still and frizzante  wines, they must have more that 45 g of sugar/liter, while in the case of sparkling wines they must have more than 50 g/l and in the case of fortified wines more than 100 g/l.

Dolcificazione (It)

Italian term for the process of sweetening a wine


Abbreviation for Denominación de Origen Protegida, a protected geographical status in Spanish wine.

Dorato (It)

Italian term for a golden color that may appear in some wines


The topping of the disgorged bottles of wine with a small amount of wine (usually mixed with sugar) causes a second fermentation in the bottle and drives complexity in the wine. Very common with wines produced using Méthode Champenoise. It is the last step in the  production process of Champagne and other sparkling wines. Determines whether a wine is brut, extra dry, dry or semi-sweet.

Dosaggio (It)

Italian term for Dosage


A river in Portugal, and a wine region famous for the production of Port wines.

Dry Farm Wines

Refers to vines tended without the use of irrigation. Irrigation is not legal in most areas of Europe for vines over 3 years of age.

Drying out

A term used when a wine is losing its fruity flavor. It is usually something that happens when wines dry out.


A term used to describe a wine that is uninteresting and lacking in character.


Eau de Vie

French term for a spirit derived from grapes, such as brandy, with a maximum of 96% ABV.


French term for the sample bottle used for barrel samples.

Effervescenza (It)

Italian wine term for the effervescence in some styles of wines


French term for the removal of the leaves of the vines to allow the sun to shine more directly on the grapes. This allows it to help ripen the fruit.


A term used in Germany and Austria, meaning "ice wine". For this type of wine, the grapes are frozen after harvesting and before pressing.

Elaborazione (It)

Italian term for the process of elaboration of a wine, or winemaking


This term is used to describe wines that are in balance, and possess smooth and refined characteristics and textures

Elegante (It)

This term is used to describe wines that are in balance, and possess smooth and refined characteristics and textures


French term that determines the length of time a wine is aged in barrels.

Élevé en Fûts de Chêne

French term for a wine aged in oak barrels.

En Primeur

This system is commonly associated with Bordeaux wine. In it, the previous year's vintage is available for sale by contract several months before the wine is bottled and released.

En Tirage

French term referring to the period of time in which the bottled sparkling wine rests in contact with the lees generated during secondary fermentation. It is part of the Méthode Champenoise process.


The sensation of flavors experienced by the palate long after the wine has been enjoyed. Typically, the longer the endnote or the finish, the better the wine.

Enologia (It)

Italian term for enology or winemaking

Enologo (It)

Italian term for enologist or winemaker

Enoteca (It)

Italian term for wine shop or wine bar

Entry level wine

The wine in a producer's portfolio that has the lowest purchase cost and offers the most basic quality. These are wines that typically tend to be produced in higher volumes intended for sale and retail in stores as opposed to HoReCa.


Wine tasters use this expression to describe the immediate sensation a wine produces when it arrives in the mouth (upon entry).

Equilibrato (It)

Italian term for a wines that has a well balanced profile.


This is the process of removing the stem from the grapes, which can be done by hand or by machine. In English it is known as destemming.

Erbaceo (It)

Italian term for a wine with herbaceous or vegetal notes

Estate Wine

Wines made from grapes grown in the same estate where the wine is produced.


Esters are a type of aromatic compounds found in wine. It is produced due to a reaction of the alcohol with the acids in the wine

Estrato (It)

Italian term for the components of a wine that remains if the wine is evaporated, with the exception of sugar.


Aging process used in Porto wines, mainly in those 3-year old wines with a high concentration of Tinta Negra grapes . It consists of placing the wines in tanks, known as "estufas", and heating them slowly for 3 months, until they reach a temperature of 113° F. The wine is then left to cool inside the tank for a month, after which the aging process continues for at least 2 years.

Etanolo (It)

Italian term for ethanol


Ethanol is the principal organic by-product from the fermentation process. Is crucial in different aspects of wine, such as its stability, the aging process or the sensory properties of the wine

Etichetta (It)

Italian term for wine label

Etichettatura (It)

Italian term for the wine labelling process

Ettaro (It)

Italian term for hectare. Its equivalent to 2.47 acres.

Ettolitro (It)

Italian term for hectoliter


Refers to the additional cost associated with the purchase of en primeur wines or the price of the wines offered to wholesale buyers (importers and distributors) when custody of the wine transfers at the cellar. Used interchangeably with EXW (ex-works) an incoterm, although ex-cellar do not hold the exact same meaning.

Extra Brut

A very dry sparkling wine. When we talk about Champagne, it is a wine that contains between 0-6 grams of residual sugar per liter.

Extra Dry

A term used to describe a Champagne that is less dry than Brut.


A term used to denote unique and opulent textures of a special nature found only in the best wines.


A term used to describe wines that expand their range of flavors and textures especially on the finish.


Term used to refer to the raw materials found in a wine that are not water, sugar, alcohol or acidity. These raw materials represent an average of 1% to 1.5% of a wine.



Tasting term describing a wine that is losing color and flavor, typically once past the wine has achieved peak aging.

Farm Winery

A U.S. and South African winery license that allows producers to produce and sell wine on site.


Italian term for a wine farm.


Unpleasant characteristic of wine, caused by a defect in production or storage conditions.

Fecce/Feccia (It)

Italian term for the sediment of the wine


Concept describing a wine similar to an elegant wine, but lighter in concentration.

Fermentazione (It)

Italian term for the fermentation of a wine.

Fermentazione naturale

Italian term for a "naturally sparkling" wine. Usually refers to wines such as Asti, which have been bottled before fermentation is complete.


French term for tenant farming. Today, it is a concept similar to a lease agreement.


This term refers to the straw-topped flask historically associated with Chianti wine.

Field Blend

Refers to planting multiple grape varieties in the same vineyard. They are usually harvested and vinified at the same time.

Fifth Growth

Term used to refer to the Château of the 1855 Medoc Classification. These wines obtained the fifth highest level of classification.

Fighting Varietal

Term originated in California in the mid-1980s, referring to any inexpensive wine bottled in a 1.5 liter (magnum sized) bottle.

Fillossera (It)

Italian term for Phylloxera


Filtration is the process of removing solid particles by having the wine move through a filter. There is a wide variation of filter options available: from gentle to some pretty aggressive methods.

Filtrato (It)

Italian term for a wine that was filtered.

Filtrazione (It)

Italian term for the filtration process that certain wines go through.

Fine (It)

Italian term for awine that is elegant and harmonious

Fine Wine

This is the highest quality category of wine. It represents a very small percentage of the world's wine production.

Estate Wine

Wines made from grapes grown in the same estate where the wine is produced.

Fine Lees

The process of aging wine through exposure to fine lees (dead yeast cells). As a result, the wine becomes more complex, richer and more aromatic. Commonly these wines are labeled as Sur Lie (French) or Sui Lieviti (Italian)


Term used to describe elegant wines.


The process of clarifying a wine, usually done with egg whites, gelatin, isinglass, casein, bentonite, etc. This allows the sediments to be separated (falls/settles to the bottom of the vessel) for easy removal.

Fiori (It)

Italian term to refer to flowers

First Growths

This term is used to talk about the best Bordeaux wines, according to the official classification of the French government in 1855.


Very structured wines with a high concentration of tannins are considered firm.


A process carried out in winemaking, which consists of passing the wine through a filter or series of filters to remove solid particles before bottling.


Tasting term describing wine that lacks acidity and structure, making the flavors flat.


A term used for a two-liter glass bottle of table wine, which is usually inexpensive.

Flagship wine

The main wine marketed by a winery.


Tasting term used to describe a flat wine, which lacks flavor and aroma.


The odors of wine that can be perceived in the mouth.


Tasting term used to describe wines that exhibit mild flavor characteristics. They usually have a velvety mouthfeel.


This is the name given to a group of wines to be tasted at a tasting. It is also often referred to as a "tasting flight".


A wine tasting term that describes wines that generally have high levels of acidity, as well as possessing a slight mineral flavor.


A term used to describe wines that have floral flavors and aromas.


Italian term for the aroma of flowers


The time of year when the first buds form on the vine.

Flying Winemaker

This term refers to a winemaker who travels extensively around the world, sharing techniques and technology. The term originates from Australian winemakers who flew to Northern Hemisphere wine regions in Europe and the United States during the harvest season.


A tasting term describing young wines that show their flavor characteristics on the first sip. This type of wine often leaves no lingering aftertaste.

Forzatura (It)

Italian term for causing an unnatural vigorous growth in the vine. It usually reduce the quality of the wine.


Term used to designate a large wooden vat used in winemaking. It is much larger than a barrel or cask. Foudre (French) is similar in terms of wine capacity to botti (Italian). Foudres vary significantly in size between 20-120 hectolitres in size (e.g. 1 hectolitre = 100 litres).

Four Growth

Term used to designate the Château wines of the 1855 Médoc Classification, which obtained the fourth highest classification level.

Fourth Square

British term used to refer to a simple, classic, one-dimensional wine.


This tasting term is used with negative connotations to refer to wines made from Vitis labrusca grapes that have musty odor and flavor.

Fragrante (It)

Italian term for a wine that is characterized for its intense aroma.

Fresco (It)

Italian term for fresh.


Tasting term describing a light, refreshing wine. It is usually a dry, acidic wine, leaving bright, clean flavors in the mouth.


Italian term used to refer to semi-sparkling wines.

Fruit Set

The time of year when the fertilized flowers turn into small bunches of grapes.

Fruit Wine

A fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit juice not derived from grapes, which may have sugar or honey added. Fruit wines are always referred to as "something" wines (e.g., plum wine, strawberry wine, etc.). This is because the word wine by itself refers to a beverage made only from grapes.


Tasting term describing a wine with an aroma of fresh fruit, such as blackberries or dark cherries.


Italian term for fruit


Italian term for fruity

Fumé Blanc

Term created by Robert Mondavi to describe dry Sauvignon Blanc wine.

Full bodied

Full bodied wines usually have high alcohol, glycerin and a very concentrated flavor.


These are Bordeaux wines that consumers can buy while they are still in barrels and have not been bottled. They are usually delivered 18 months after bottling.



A very popular red grape in the Beaujolais region of France.


Wines with aromas of meat, earth and barnyard.


An old-fashioned term that initially referred to a movement of small producers located on the right bank of Bordeaux, who made wine at home or in the garage. Now, the term is used generically to depict winemakers that make small batches of wine with sourced juice and/or grapes.


Garrafeira is a Portuguese term with garrafa as the root of the word. Garrafa means bottle in many Latin languages. Garrafeira carries a different meaning depending on the context. Generally refers to a place where bottles are stored (cellar, liquor store, etc.). It also refers to regulatory aging requirements for red and white/rose wines the wines for which this term is used have particular regulations. In the case of red wines, they must be aged at least two years in a barrel and one year in a bottle. On the other hand, white and rosé wines must be aged at least one year in a barrel and six months in a bottle.


This French term describes a fragrance of earth, herbs and other scents found in typical Provençal open markets.

Geographical Indication

A term used by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to designate a wine region that can produce wines with defined characteristics.


A sweet and spicy white grape popular in eastern France, Germany, Austria, northern Italy and California.


Italian term for the yellowish color of some wines.


Italian term to refer to a wine that is young or has a lack of maturity

Globalization of wine

Refers to the internationalization of the wine industry, including vineyard management practices, winemaking techniques, wine styles and marketing.


Glycerin, produced during fermentation, adds texture and body to wine.


A viticulture technique in which the bud-producing part of a vine is attached to an existing root. This is typically done to deal with pests that attack the rootstock of the vines. Phylloxera is a microscopic louse or aphid, that lives on and eats roots of vines.

Grand Cru

French for "great growth". Refers to the best vineyards. It is a part of the official French vineyard classification. In Spain, premium classification for Spanish sparkling wine, cava wine.

Grand Cru Classe

Used to describe vineyards where premium grapes grow. This is a definition used mainly in the Burgundy area.

Grand Vin

Used to refer to the best wine made on an estate. It is normally used in France, particularly in Bordeaux.

Grand Marques

In French, the expression means "great brands" or "great labels" and can apply either to a specific Champagne house or to an association of 24 members including the best French Champagne houses.

Gran Reserva

This is the highest category of wines produced in Spain. To obtain this label, a wine must be aged for a minimum of five years. Two of those five years the wine must be aged in barrel, and it can spend the remaining time in bottle.


Granite soils are found in many regions, although they are most prevalent in the northern Rhône Valley.


A Spanish term used for sparkling wines fermented in tank instead of receiving a traditional fermentation in bottle.

Grape Juice

A term used for pressed or free-run, unfermented grape juice.

Grape Must

Freshly pressed grape juice that still contains the pips, sticks and skins of the grape.


Italian term to refer to a bunch of grapes


Wine tasting term describing herbaceous or green flavors, such as sometimes can be found in Sauvignon Blanc wine.

Graticcio (singular)  or Graticci (plural)

Traditional Italian structures used in the process of winemaking, specifically for drying grapes. These are often constructed as wooden racks or lattice frameworks. The primary purpose of graticci is to facilitate the air drying of grapes, which concentrates their sugars and flavors, a crucial step in producing certain styles of wine like Amarone or passito wines. By allowing air to circulate around the grapes, these racks help in achieving the desired level of dehydration before the grapes are pressed and fermented. This method enhances the intensity and complexity of the resulting wines.


Gravel, along with other rocks and stones, is an important part of many wine regions, especially Bordeaux and California, for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Gravity Cellars

A gentle method of moving wine without the use of pumps but only with the aid of gravity force.


Wine tasting term. Green wines have a high degree of acidity and usually unbalanced flavors due to the berries not achieving phenolic ripeness. This term is usually used only for white wines.

Green Harvest

Green harvesting consists of removing unripe grapes at the beginning of the growing season to reduce the overall yield. In this way, it is possible to increase the concentration of the remaining grapes.


A term widely used by British wine tasters to describe firm, tannic wines.


The grape most commonly used to produce wine in the southern Rhône valley.

Growing Degree Days (GDD)

Growing Degree Days (GDD) in viticulture are a measure of heat accumulation used to predict plant development rates, including grapevines. This concept is crucial in understanding and predicting the timing of the key phases in a vine's growth cycle, such as flowering, fruit set, and ripening.The GDD is calculated by taking the average of the daily maximum and minimum temperatures compared to a base temperature, below which grapevines do not grow. The base temperature often used is 10°C (50°F). Here's a simple formula to illustrate:GDD = (Daily Max Temp + Daily Min Temp)/2 - Base TempFor example, if the daily high is 25°C and the low is 15°C, the calculation would be (25+15)/2 - 10 = 10 GDD for that day.This measurement is accumulated over the growing season, typically starting from when the average daily temperature consistently exceeds the base temperature, often around bud break in spring.The total GDD over a growing season helps in classifying the climate of a wine region (cool, moderate, warm, or hot), determining suitable grape varieties for that region, and predicting harvest times. Different grape varieties require different amounts of heat to reach maturity, so GDD is a useful tool in selecting varieties that are well-suited to a region's climate. Additionally, understanding GDD can assist viticulturists in adapting their practices to climate change and varying weather patterns.


In the official Medoc classification of 1855, the best Bordeaux wines were classified using this term (First Growth, Second Growth, Third Growth, Fourth Growth and Fifth Growth).

Grüner Veltliner

A very popular white grape in Austria that produces fruity, highly aromatic and spicy wines


A wine blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.


Italian term for taste



French term for the foil and wire cork used to enclose the neck of a bottle of sparkling wine.


Translates as "half dry" and refers to a dry wine with a touch of sweetness, a medium dry wine.


Term used for wines that have rough tannins, and high levels of acidity.


Term used to describe wines in which all aspects are in perfect balance: acid, fruit, alcohol and tannins.


Tasting term used to describe wines with high alcohol content and astringent flavors. These types of wines usually go through an aging process to be softened.


A term used to describe a full-bodied wine with a high level of alcohol.


A tasting term indicating full-bodied, full-flavored wines; often used to describe big red wines.


A wine tasting term that describes a wine with too high a tannin content. Such wines are considered unbalanced.


European term used to measure land, which is equivalent to 2.47 acres of land. All French vineyards are measured in hectares.


European term for measuring liquid which, for example, equals 100 liters to 26.4 gallons. Yield is obtained by measuring the number of hectoliters per hectare in. One hectoliter is equivalent to approximately 11 cases 12x750ml) of wine.


A term describing a wine that is overtly satisfying and pleasing, as opposed to more subtle wines.


Herbaceous wines carry herbal notes. A little is pleasant, but in wines that are too herbaceous the fruit notes are lost.


Tasting term for wines that give off the aroma of herbs, such as: sage, eucalyptus, mint and thyme.


In Portugal, primarily in the Alentejo region, the term refers to a homestead, a large or very large (wine) farm estate where the farm residence(s) and the operating business are co-located. Sometimes used interchangeably with quinta. Quintas are typically smaller in size than herdades.


Term for Rhine wines. Usually used in England.


A barrel of wine containing approximately 239 liters. This is equivalent to 63 gallons.


A term describing a simple, straightforward wine with no noticeable defects.


A common trait in sweet white wines, which have a honeyed character.

Horizontal Tasting

A term used to refer to wines of the same vintage, which are usually served together at tastings.


A wine tasting term that describes the burning sensation of alcohol or the sensation of heat in the mouth and throat when drinking a wine with a high alcohol content.


Hue describes the actual color of the wine and will depend on the type of wine. Wine comes in all kinds of colors, from deep purple red to gold or silver.

Hybrid Grapes

Hybrid grapes are varieties that result from the crossbreeding of two or more species within the Vitis genus. Unlike traditional breeding within the same species, predominantly Vitis vinifera (the primary European grapevine species), hybrid grapes involve inter-species combinations. These grapes are sometimes termed "Modern Varieties" and are known for their resilience, showing remarkable resistance to various challenges such as powdery mildew, other fungal diseases, nematodes, and phylloxera—a pest that significantly affected vineyards historically. The robust characteristics of hybrid grapes make them increasingly significant in European grape breeding programs, aiming to produce hardier, disease-resistant vine stocks.

Hydrogen Sulfide

A wine defect that can give rise to aromas of sulfur or rotten eggs.


Ice Wine

Sweet wine with low alcohol content, made from grapes that have frozen on the vine, harvested very late in the year after the temperatures have fallen below 0℃ or 32℉.


Abbreviation for "Indicazione Geografica Tipica". It is the lowest category of region specific Italian wine, regulated by law. Vino da Tavola is the most basic classification of Italian wine.


Term that refers to a large bottle containing six liters. It is the equivalent of eight normal bottles of wine.


Refers to the moment when the integration of the different components of the wine occurs (e.g. alcohol, acidity and tannins). Or, to a wine that is harmonious and balanced.

International variety

A term that refers to the noble grape varieties grown in major wine regions. Examples are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Syrah.


An intense wine keeps the taster focused, thanks to a full-bodied flavor.


An intricate wine subtly intertwines complex flavors and aromas. Commonly the wine would exhibit primary, secondary and tertiary flavor profiles.

Imballaggio (It)

Italian term for the process of putting the wine bottles in containers, before shipping

Imbottigliamento (It)

Italian term for the process of bottling wine.

Imbottigliato (It)

Italian term for a wine that was bottled

Impianto (It)

Italian term for the process of planting or implanting grapes.

Importatore (It)

Italian term for wine importer

Intenso (It)

Italian term for a wine which has great intensity in color, aroma or flavor

Invecchiamento (It)

Italian term for the aging process of a wine

Invecchiato (It)

Italian term to refer a wine that was aged


A wine tasting term that describes a wine with too high a tannin content. Such wines are considered unbalanced.

Italian Method (Metodo Italiano)

Synonym of Charmat Method



Tasting term used to describe red wines that exhibit flavor characteristics of stewed juices and fruits. May be reminiscent of berry jam.


A 500 ml bottle of wine. Usually used for bottling dessert wines.


A large format wine bottle that holds four standard size bottles of wine (750 ml) or 3.0 liters of sparkling wine or 6 standard size bottles or 4.5 liters for non-sparkling wine.

Jug Wine

American term for inexpensive table wine. In French it is known as Vin de table.



German term for a quality wine; usually the driest of the best German Rieslings.


Austrian term to describe a wine made in a traditional light, spicy style. This term is usually associated with Austrian white wines such as Grüner Veltliner.

Kosher Wine

A wine made according to strict Jewish rules under rabbinical supervision.


Kouloures refers to the traditional pruning and training system used for grapevines in certain regions of Greece, such as Santorini. This method involves shaping the grapevines into basket-like circular forms. The vines are trained to form a continuous loop, which resembles a wreath or a basket. This technique helps protect the grapes from harsh winds and intense sunlight, common in many Greek islands. Additionally, it assists in conserving moisture, which is particularly valuable in arid climates. The kouloures method is a unique adaptation to the environmental challenges faced by viticulturists in these regions, showcasing a deep understanding of local growing conditions and an innovative approach to maximizing the yield and health of the grapevines.

Kvevri (or Qvevri)

Kvevri are large earthenware (typically clay) vessels used for the fermentation, storage and ageing of traditional Georgian wine. They vary in shape and sizes but typically resemble large, egg-shaped amphorae without handles, they are either buried below ground or set into the floors of large wine cellars, with just the neck of the vessel showing avove the surface. They lend themselves beautifully to minimal intervention wines as the shape of the vessel facilitates the settling of lees and sediment to the small reducing the need for racking and filtering. The vessels are enjoying a bit of a renaissance at the moment as consumers are more and more willing to go the natural or minimal intervention wine route.



A term referring to some grape types indigenous to North America. These include Concord and Catawba.

Lactic Acid

Term for a mild textured acid, a product of malolactic fermentation. It is the same acid found in milk.

Lactic Acid Bacteria

A wine flaw that results in a wine that smells like sauerkraut.


A German counterpart term to the French vin de pays, meaning "wine of the country".

Late Harvest

These are wines made from grapes that are harvested at the end of the viticultural season.This allows for greater ripeness of the grapes, resulting in a higher sugar content. In French, “vendange tardive”.

Lay Down

A term that refers to the process of resting in the cellar that some wines must go through in order to age.


This type of wine has a vegetable aroma.

Left Bank

The term designates an area of Bordeaux, located to the left of the river. It is the area of origin of the wines of Margaux, St. Julien, Pauillac and St. Estephe. The Left Bank is held in higher regard than the Right Bank.

Leggero (It)

The term designates an area of Bordeaux, located to the left of the river. It is the area of origin of the wines of Margaux, St. Julien, Pauillac and St. Estephe. The Left Bank is held in higher regard than the Right Bank.

Legno (It)

Italian term for wood

Left Bank

The term designates an area of Bordeaux, located to the left of the river. It is the area of origin of the wines of Margaux, St. Julien, Pauillac and St. Estephe. The Left Bank is held in higher regard than the Right Bank.


Austrian and German term describing medium sweet wines. This type of wine can contain up to 45 g/l of residual sugar.

Lieviti (It)

Italian term for yeast


The refreshing sensation offered by a wine, coming from the acidity. Without it, the wine would feel flabby on the palate.

Light Bodied

Tasting term. Wines described in this way often lack flavor and texture and are sometimes considered a bit watery.


Tasting term for a wine that has had long exposure to ultraviolet light causing an aroma and flavor similar to wet cardboard.


This soil type is made up of fossilized sea shells and chalk, and is key to many regions where white wines are produced.


Large oak forest in France, with trees used to produce wine barrels.

Limpidezza (It)

Italian term for clarity, a characteristic of some wines.


Linear wines offer flavors that do not change at any time when tasted. For example, in the mouth, a dark fruity wine will not change flavor to red berries.

Liqueur de Tirage

French term for a liquid solution containing sucrose and yeast. It is widely used in the secondary fermentation of sparkling wines.

Liqueur d'Expédition

French term for "transport liquid", used to replenish and possibly sweeten sparkling wine after disgorgement.

Liquoroso (It)

Italian term for fortified wine


A river in central France that lends the name to the Loire Valley. It is a wine region famous for wines, such as: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.


Refers to the characteristic finish of fine wines, which have a lingering aftertaste in the mouth.

Lotta Biologica

A strategy to combat pests and diseases in the vineyard, using only organic or biological methods

Lotta Guidata

A strategy to combat pests and diseases in the vineyard, using chemical methods only when there is an inminent threat of damage.

Lotta Integrata

Italian term for the integrated pest management strategy, which combines biological and chemical methods.


Tasting phrase meaning that a wine is opulent and smooth. Usually applied to sweet wines, although it is also used to describe any intensely fruity wine.


Lieu-dit comes from French. Lieu means place and dit is the conjugated verb dire meaning to say in past tense. Literally translated it means Said-Place. In French, the term is used to describe a small, typically uninhabited, geographical area. The name usually refers to some characteristic of the place, its former use, a past event, etc.



It is the most cultivated and important white grape in the Rioja region of Spain, where it is commonly called Viura. The grape has gained prominence due to its high yield and has largely replaced the traditional white Malvasia in this region.


Italian term for maceration

Macerazione Carbonica

Italian term for the process of carbonic maceration


City in France known for producing value-for-money wines and for its fresh, simple white wines, produced mainly from the Chardonnay grape.


A term used to describe the climate of a large wine-growing area (e.g. an entire region) as opposed to microclimate.


A fortified wine made on the Portuguese island of the same name off the coast of Morocco since the 15th century.


The result of oxidation in wines. Maderized wines show aged colors and lack of fruit, similar to what is found in Madeira wine.


Italian term to refer to maderized wines


A red grape variety from Bordeaux also known as Cot. It produces a deep red tannic wine and is usually blended with one (sometimes more) of the other four grapes allowed in Bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This wine is most common in regions such as Argentina or South Australia.

Malic Acid

It is one of the three predominant acids in grapes.  Malic acid is also present in many fruits, such as: apples, cherries, plums and tomatoes.

Malolactic Fermentation, MLF or “malo”

A secondary fermentation in which the acidity of the tart malic acid in the wine converts into a much mild and creamier lactic acid. The process reduces acidity in wine and releases some carbon dioxide.

Malolattica (It)

Italian term for malolactic fermentation


A French term to describe a person or legal entity that buys grapes, grape must or wine to make wine on their own premises and market it under their own label. All of the big Champagne Houses belong in this category.


A fino sherry produced in Spain. It is so called because the flavor of this pale, dry sherry is reminiscent of manzanilla tea.


A term to refer to the distillate of marc. It can also refer to the marc itself or, in the Champagne region, to the individual fractions from the traditional vertical press.

Marchio (It)

Italian term to refer to a brand or trademark

Margaret River

Geographically, Margaret River it is one of Australia's largest wine regions. Located in the state of Western Australia, more than 20% of its wines are quality wines. Some of the most common grapes from this region are Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.


It is the southernmost area where the fine wines of the Haut-Medoc region, in the Bordeaux area, are produced. It is also known by this name as one of the four wines that reached the category of First Growth in the Bordeaux classification of 1855.

Martinotti Method

Synonym of Charmat Method


This is an Italian fortified wine, dry or sweet, produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala on the island of Sicily. In Canada and the United States, it is more often used for cooking than for drinking, but in Italy it has traditionally been served as an aperitif.


Tasting term describing big, full-bodied, complex and round red wines, complex and round.

Mattonato (It)

Italian term for a brick red color that can appear in some wines

Maturazione (It)

Italian term for the process of maturation or aging of wines


A mature wine has aged to the point where all its elements come together: tannins, fruit and acidity. At that point, the wine also acquires secondary flavors and aromas.

Maturo (It)

Italian term for Mature

May wine

A light German wine flavored with sweet chestnut, plus strawberries or other fruits.

McLaren Vale

This is one of Australia's oldest wine regions, located in the south of the country and famous for producing a Shiraz wine of excellent quality from grapes that thrive in fine soils and warm summers.


An 18-liter bottle of wine, equivalent to 24 standard bottles.


An alcoholic beverage similar to wine. Instead of being made from grape juice, fermented honey and water are used.


Tasting term describing wine containing abundant flavors reminiscent of meat.


Tasting term describing wines with aromatic and flavor nuances, usually found in spirits such as: malt whisky.

Medium Bodied

Wines described as medium bodied leaving a medium mouthfeel.

Medium Plus Barrel Toast

Determining the aging vessel is at the discretion of the winemaker. From what wood to use to what toast level to use. The higher the toast level the more pronounced are the vanilla flavors in wine.


This is known as Bordeaux, the most famous wine region in France. The Médoc is divided into two smaller regions: the Bas-Medoc (“bas” stands for low in French) and the Haut-Medoc (“haut” stands for high in French). Of the two, Haut-Medoc produces higher quality wines, which is why you often see Haut-Medoc on wine labels from the region. Typically, higher elevation wines are more valued due to the inherent difficulty to ripen the grapes and the lower yields that could be achieved.


A term used to describe a probably well-aged wine that is soft and smooth, with no bite or harshness.


A wine defect, characterized by rotten egg, skunk or rubber aromas. These usually come from volatile sulfur compounds.


A term created by California winemakers for wines made from Bordeaux-style blends. These wines may contain varying amounts of any or all of the 6 major Bordeaux grape varieties.


A popular red grape in Bordeaux and around the world. Large quantities of Merlot are grown in Italy, the United States, South America and elsewhere.


This term is commonly used to describe the type of climate in a vineyard.


Tasting term describing the metallic (usually flinty or steel) flavor present in some winesMéthode Champenoise. Traditional protocol for creating sparkling wines in which a second fermentation takes place in the bottle. The method, developed in France, is used worldwide, but only Champagne from the Champagne region of France can legally use the term.

Méthode Traditionnelle (aka Metodo Tradizionale, Méthode Classique and Metodo Classico)

Winemakers producing sparkling wine in regions outside the boundaries of the Champagne appellation in France are allowed to use this phrase on the label to indicate that the sparkling wine has been made following the Méthode Champenoise protocol.


A 6 liter bottle of wine. Equivalent to 8 standard bottles.

Micro Oxygenation

A technique developed to help wines taste better when they are younger, especially during barrel tasting. Mostly used with grapes from warm climates, micro-oxygenation involves adding small amounts of oxygen to the wine. Or, it is the natural penetration of oxygen through the wood grains of the aging vessel or the cork over time.


Wines made by micro-vinification are fermented in barrels. This is the playground for the winemaker where they would vinify small batches of wine by modifying a variable to determine which method yields the best results. An example of this would be to vinify the grapes using different strains of yeast.


The mid-palate is the central part of the wine tasting that takes place after the initial taste and the finish. It is the time when most of the flavors are released and experienced. This is in reference to the human tongue where the front, mid and back of the tongue hold different taste receptors.


French term for what happens when irregularity in the grape bunch. This results in the grapes in each cluster not being uniform in size and developing at different stages and rates of ripening.

Millesimato (It)

Italian term, especially used in sparkling wines, to refer to vintage dated wines

Minerali (It)

Italian term for minerals


This aroma or flavor comes from grapes grown in intense, rocky, mineral-laden soils. It gives a sensation of crushed rocks, stone or cement.

Mis en Bouteille

French for "put in the bottle", or "bottled". The phrase "mis en bouteille au châteaux" or "mis en bouteille au domaine", which often appears on French wine labels, indicates that the wine is bottled on an estate and that the grapes are grown on site.


French term used to designate wines that are in the medium to sweet range.


An odor indicating that the wine has been made from moldy grapes or has been stored in barrels deteriorated by mold.


This term is used to refer to a wine made from a single grape variety.


French term for an Appellation of Origin (AOC), in which all the vineyards in the appellation are owned by a single owner.

Monovitigno (It)

Italian term to refer to a monovarietal

Morbido (It)

Italian term to referto awine that is soft and balanced, with subtle sweetness and low to medium acidity


Moscato is the name given to the Muscat variety in Italy, which is used for Asti Spumante, its well-known sparkling wine. This is a highly aromatic grape variety. There are various types of Moscato.

Mosel / Moselle

Moselle is the German spelling of one of Germany's most important wine regions and of the river of the same name that meanders through the region known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. There are vineyards along the entire length of the river, but the wines made from Riesling grapes are the best known.


Italian term for the grape must, used for winemaking


French term used to refer to the foam that forms on the surface of a glass of sparkling wine when it is first poured, as well as the effervescent quality of the wine.


French term for sparkling wine.


Concentrated wines with sufficient volume to occupy the entire mouth with flavor.


Property located in Bourdeaux, and classified as First Growth, located in the commune of Pauillac. The wines produced there are highly recognized due to the artistic works present on their labels, in addition to their robust body.

Mulled Wine

Wine that is usually served as a punch. Previously, it was heated and seasoned. Popular in the winter, especially in the German speaking part of the world.

Muffa Nobile

Italian term for the Noble Rot, also known as Botrytis


A type of grape that is a cross between a Riesling and a Sylvaner and is currently the most widely grown variety in Germany. It is also widely grown in New Zealand.


A popular dry, light white wine produced in the western part of France's Loire region, where the Loire River empties into the Atlantic ocean. This wine is considered perfect to accompany seafood, especially oysters.


Term used to describe a wine, almost always red, that is vigorous, full-bodied and powerful.


An undesirable, musty odor in a wine that has probably been stored in an unclean wooden barrel.


Prestigious title for a person who has studied and passed the Masters of Wine exam.


Natural Wine

A generalized term used to describe wines that are produced with sustainable, organic, and/or biodynamic viticulture.


A wine producing area in north central Spain, just south of Pamplona. It's best known for its rosada (rosé) and its increasingly fine Cabernet based wines.


A red grape popular in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy; the only grape used in both Barolo and Barbaresco.


A large bottle holding 15 liters, the equivalent of 20 regular wine bottles.


The merchants are similar to wholesalers. Most Bordeaux châteaux do not sell wine to customers. In almost all cases, they only sell their wine to negociants, who commit to buy it each vintage.


Italian term for black


A term that describes wines that offer higher levels of acidity, as well as brighter flavors.

New Oak

Term used to refer to the first time a barrel is used to age wine. Barrels can be used numerous times. Typically, producers that want to impart wood type (most commonly vanilla) aroma replace their barrels every 3 years. Or subsequently they use the barrels as “neutral vessels”.

New World

Term often used to refer to wines not produced in Europe.

Neutral Barrel

Barrels are deemed to be “neutral” once their ability to impart wood flavor/aroma has been extinguished. Typically, after three years, as long as they have held wine in them most of that time. Once neutral, the ability of the barrel to impart wood flavorings is minimal. Neutral barrels are preferred over other neutral vessels, like stainless steel, due to their ability to micro oxygenate the wine and develop more complex aromas.


Tasting term that describes a superlative wine with exceptional character.

Noble Rot

Term used to refer to grapes attacked by Botrytis. This is necessary for the production of many sweet wines, especially Sauternes.

Non Vintage or NV

Term to talk about wine made from grapes harvested in different years and/or vineyards. In the case of the regulators, this refers to a wine that is registered as rolling vintage.


Term that refers to the sum of a wine's aromas.


French word for "new". When paired with Beaujolais, the phrase connotes a wine that's light and fruity and young. Refer to Beaujolais Nouveau.

Novello (It)

Light bodied red wine, that is one of the first released after the harvest


It is most often used to describe oxidized wines. It is also used to describe sweet wines made from grapes attacked by Botrytis.


Abbreviation for National Wine School.



Most barrels employed to store and age wine are made of oak, which contributes both tannins and flavor to the contents and are especially crucial when trying to successfully produce long-lived red wine. The most common oak types are French, American and Slavonian. They vary in density of the grain and its ability to impart oxygen and oaky flavors.


Tasting term describing the flavor and aroma of oak imparted from aging the wine in containers made of that wood.

Odore (It)

Italian term for the ordor or aroma of a wine

Oenology (aka Ampelogy)

The study of wine and wine making.


Term to describe the fear of wine.


Off wines are bottles that have been known to display correct aromatics and flavors, but for some reason, that specific bottle is not at the same level.

Off Dry

A tasting term describing a wine with just a hint of sweetness.


Term describing a wine in which the flavors or aromas are uncharacteristic or unpleasant.


French term for Downey mildew, a fungal disease.

Old Vines

In French, old vines are written as Vieilles Vignes. Grapes from old vines have a minimum of 35 years of age. Old vines can produce better, more concentrated fruit, with naturally lower yields.

Old World Wine

Wines produced inside of the traditional wine growing areas of Europe and North Africa.


Term that refers to young wines that display their character and flavors early.

Open Top Fermenters

The same vat or tank as the traditional vessel used for vinification, but lacking a permanent top, so that the vessel remains open.

Optical Sorter

Fast and effective method of sorting grapes, based upon size and phenolic ripeness, after harvest using optical technology for image analysis.


Opulent wines offer sensuous textures and richness.

Orange Wines (aka Amber Wines)

White wine grapes processed in the same manner as red wine grapes where thejuice is left in contact with the skin and seeds for an extended period of time. The time varies based on the winemaker’s preferences and it can range from weeks to months as compared to days with white wines. The resulting wine has an orange or amber tint. Orange wines are most commonly associated with Georgia, the birthplace of wine, and Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) in northeastern Italy. Although, they have gained sizable popularity in recent years.

Organic Viticulture

A term that refers to the practice of viticulture without the use of agrochemicals (herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, etc.).


A wine tasting term for anything that affects one of the main senses such as smell. An example would be an affliction of the common cold or being in a room with someone wearing an overwhelming amount of perfume.

Ossidato (It)

Italian term for a wine that has been negatively affected by the contact with air

Ossidazione (It)

Italian term for the oxidation process that affects negatively some wines


Overripe is a misused term. Overripe wines smell of prunes, raisins, cola and other scents.


Oxidized wines have experienced too much air. They can become brown or bricky in color and taste like Sherry often described as nutty.


ÖWT stands for Österreichische Traditionsweingüter and is an association of traditional Austrian winemakers founded in 1992 in Kremstal, Kamptal, Traisental, Wagram and Carnuntum.


Paglierino (It)

Italian term for the pale yellow color of some wines


A tasting term for the feel and taste of a wine in the mouth.

Palate Cleanser

A neutrally flavored food, used between tastes of wine to remove the flavors from your palate.


A term without real meaning often used by fans of traditional wines when wines are richer, sweeter, softer and more alcoholic than they prefer. The term is modeled after the wines achieving high scores by Robert Parker, a well known wine critic.


A wine production method used in Italy whereby grapes are dried, either on mats or by hanging, until they become raisinated. As a result, wine made in this manner has a lot more sugar than is typical. Thus these grapes are used mostly for dessert wines which are called "Passito," after the method.


Developed by the famous French scientist Louis Pasteur while investigating the reasons why beer and wine spoil, pasteurization is the process of killing bacteria via heating the fluid then quickly chilling it.

Pedro Ximenez

Produced most commonly in southern Spain, Pedro Ximenez is a grape variety used to make white wines. The grape's name is the Spanish translation of Peter Siemens, a German who originally introduced this variety to Spain's wine country.

Peer Group

Wines in peer groups are usually related by the vintage, appellation and/or producer.


Tasting term used to describe wines that have nuanced spiced flavors. Shiraz often presents peppery flavor characteristics.


Traditional method for training the vines at high altitude, most commonly used in Italy.


Term that refers to wine aromas. Wines with bottle age develop secondary, non fruit aromas.


Perlage is a French term to describe the string of "pearls", fine bubbles, in a glass of sparkling wine (think champagne, cremant, etc. Typically, the finer the pearls, the better the quality, and this is essentially the result of the method in use. The Traditional or Methode Champenoise produces smaller,  finer bubbles than other methods of making sparkling wine.

Persistente (It)

Italian term for a wine that has a prolongured finish in mouth


Italian term for a wine that feels too heavy in mouth, or have an excesive amount of alcohol


Pétillant is the French word for sparkling. Lightly effervescent; slightly sparkling. Pétillance is found sometimes in wines not meant to sparkle but which are often bottled with some left-over CO2. It is the French equivalent to frizzante.

Petite Sirah

This grape variety is also known as Durif, after Francois Durif, the Frenchman who developed the grape in the late 19th Century. The result of a chance cross pollination between Syrah and the French grape Peloursin, Petite Sirah is now grown mainly in California and increasingly in Australia.

Petit Château

Small estates, which can produce fine wine, but the property is not well known, either because it is located in a less famous wine region, or it is a small vineyard that is not renowned.

Phenolic Compounds

Natural compounds present in grape skins and seeds.

Phenolic Ripeness

The changes that occur in the tannins, grape seeds, skins and stems when the fruit is fully ripe. This is the same term as Physiological Ripeness which is when the tannins, grape seeds, skins and stems are fully ripe.


Phenolics are the important compounds produced from the pulp, skins, seeds and stems of the grapes.


A microscopic insect that kills grapevines by attacking their roots.

Piedmont / Piemonte

Called Piemonte in Italian, the name Piedmont translates as "foot of the mountains" and appropriately describes a significant area of wine production in Italy lying at the foot of the Alps where the mountains form natural boundaries between Italy, Switzerland and France.

Pieno (It)

Italian for a full bodied or rich wine


A winemaking technique of punching down the cap of grape skins that forms during fermentation and submerging it during fermentation to extract color, tannins, flavor and aromas from the grape solids.

Pigiatura (It)

Italian term for the crushing process of the grapes

Pinot Blanc

Any red (black) or white grape variety used to make Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio, respectively. Also refers to any wine made from these grapes.

Pinot Grigio

A wine produced in northern Italy from the grape of the same name. The grape is also called Pinot Gris in France and Rulander in Germany. Most of this popular wine is dry, crisp, and light, and there are a number of appellations in Italy, such as Colli Orientali and Alto-Adige, that are famous for their excellent Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Noir

Native to Burgundy, France, this grape is now planted all over the New World and has become one of the most successful red wine varietals on the planet. California and Oregon produce tremendous examples. More recently, New Zealand is fast becoming renowned for fine Pinot Noirs.


This grape variety was created as a cross between the Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes, in an attempt to harness Pinot Noir's great wine producing qualities while increasing its hardiness and yield.


Term that refers to grape seeds.


A cask holding two hogsheads or 126 gallons of wine.


A French word applied to wines that have started to sour or take on a vinegar-like quality. Holds the same meaning as the English tasting term "pricked".

Place de Bordeaux

Name for where the buying and selling process from Bordeaux negociants and merchants takes place.


Wines that taste of plums are usually round in texture as well. Pomerol and St. Emilion produce plummy wines.


Plush wines feel polished, rich, opulent or supple in the mouth.

Podere (It)

Italian term for a farm or rural wine estate


Italian term for polyphenols


A wine that’s polished is smooth and refined.

Polpa (It)

Italian term for the pulp of the grape


Once the juice is drained from the vat, what remains is the pomace, which is the seeds, skin and stems. Most innovative producers focus on compost management and pomace is an important input.


Wine that is big, opulent and concentrated.

Pop and Pour

Common method of opening a wine bottle by the act of simply removing the cork and pouring the wine.

Porpora (It)

Italian term for a purple or crimson color


A ceramic or glass pitcher used in Spain for consuming wine in a dramatic, celebratory way. Similar in appearance to a small flower watering pot, it has a pointy spout that streams a drink of wine into your mouth.


Rich, alcoholic, sweet, fortified wine produced in the Porto region of Portugal.

Port Like

Dry red wine that is described as Port like, are very thick, rich, concentrated and ripe.

Port Like

Dry red wine that is described as Port like, are very thick, rich, concentrated and ripe.

Port Like

Dry red wine that is described as Port like, are very thick, rich, concentrated and ripe.


Legally, Ports shipped to the U.S. are called "Porto" and the name has to appear somewhere on the label.


A red wine variety grown extensively in Austria, where it is one of the most commonly planted red wine grapes. It is also popular in Germany.

Potatura (It)

Italian term for the prunning process of vines

Potassium Sorbate

A term to refer to a wine stabilizer and a preservative.


A world-renowned French white wine, produced in southern Burgundy from the Chardonnay variety. Pouilly-Fuissé is an appellation (AOC) for white wine in the Mâconnais subregion of Burgundy in central France.

Potassium Sorbate

A French dry white wine produced in the Loire region from the Sauvignon Blanc variety.


A term to refer to a wine stabilizer and a preservative.


Powerful wines are concentrated with raw material, flavor and tannin.

Premier Cru

Premier Cru wines are one of the highest classed growth wines in France, second only to Premier Grand Cru.

Premier Grand Cru

Wines that are the highest classed growth wines in France.

Premium Wines

Higher quality classification of wine above every day drinking table wines. While premium wines may be very expensive there is no set price point that distinguishes when a wine becomes a “premium wine.”


A device or machine that squeezes grapes in order to release their juice. There is a wide variety of press options.


Extreme flaw in supposedly age worthy white wine caused by the premature oxidation of the wine, resulting in dark colors, maderized aromas and off flavors.

Presa di Spuma (It)

Italian term for the second fermentation process, used in sparking wines

Press Wine

Essentially the second pressing of the pomace, which is made from the grape skins, seeds and pulp after the fermented juice is removed from the solid materials. Press wine provides more tannins, color and potential flavors.

Prezzo (It)

Italian term for price

Primary Aromas

The aromas in wine that are derived from the grapes themselves and are considered part of the varietal character or typicity of the grape variety. This is opposed to the secondary aromas which come from the fermentation and maturation process and the tertiary aromas which come from the aging process in the bottle.


French word for wines meant to be enjoyed soon after harvesting. Beaujolais Nouveau is one such wine that is famous throughout the world.


A red wine grape grown in the Balkans and Italy. For many years it was believed to be the progenitor of California's Zinfandel grape but recent studies indicate that the grapes are different clones of the same original variety, likely Crljenak, a grape from Croatia.

Produttore (It)

Italian term for wine producer

Profumo (It)

In 1920 the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed into law, outlawing the sale of alcohol and heralding the beginning of a thirteen year experiment that failed miserably. Between 1920 and 1933, when the 18th was repealed by the 21st amendment, consumption of alcohol in the U.S. doubled.


In 1920 the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed into law, outlawing the sale of alcohol and heralding the beginning of a thirteen year experiment that failed miserably. Between 1920 and 1933, when the 18th was repealed by the 21st amendment, consumption of alcohol in the U.S. doubled.


An Italian white wine varietal grown primarily in the Veneto region. It's also the name of sparkling wines made from the grape, which can be Spumante, meaning fully carbonated, or Frizzante, meaning lightly carbonated.


A vast and beautiful viticultural region in southern France that lies east of the Rhône River and extends south to the Mediterranean Sea. It is said that wine production there goes back to approximately 600 B.C. Every year, Provence produces over 40 million cases of a wide variety of wines. Perhaps the best known is Cotes du Rhône.

Provenienza (It)

Italian term for provenience or place of origin


Wines produced from grapes that are too ripe and become overly jammy, are said to be pruney.


Pruning involves the cutting and removal of different parts of the vines. It is done to reduce grape yield and direct the vine production.

Pump Over

Pump overs are what takes place when the wine is removed from the bottom of the vat and returned to the of the vat, which adds air and keeps the cap wet and submerged. This is an alternative method to punch downs or pigéage.


The inward depression at the bottom of a Champagne or wine bottle. It is a remnant of history and serves no purpose. It also increases the carbon footprint of the wine.


Purity is a good thing in a wine, and hard to find. Wine with purity allows the true expression of the fruit to come through.



Short for Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete. QbA is the mid-range of three categories delineating the quality of German wines. The other categories are QmP (the highest) and DMW (the lowest).


An abbreviated form of Qualitätswein mit Prädikat, which translates loosely as "quality wine with distinction" and denotes the highest quality of German wines.


Wine that is drinkable, but not special.


Usually inexpensive wine without faults that is easy to drink on release.

Quaffing wine

A simple wine, that you can drink everyday.

Qualità (It)

Italian term for the quality of a wine


Austria's mark for quality wine. Qualitätswein wines are demarcated by a red-and-white striped bottle seal (typically found on the top of the capsule) that indicates the wine passed 2 inspections (a chemical and tasting analysis).

Quercia (It)

Italian term for oak


The term refers to a farm, a rural property or an estate in Portugal. The term also refers to an appellation for agricultural estates, such as wineries, vineyards, and olive groves.


Qvevri are large earthenware (typically clay) vessels used for the fermentation, storage and ageing of traditional Georgian wine. They vary in shape and sizes but typically resemble large, egg-shaped amphorae without handles, they are either buried below ground or set into the floors of large wine cellars, with just the neck of the vessel showing avove the surface. They lend themselves beautifully to minimal intervention wines as the shape of the vessel facilitates the settling of lees and sediment to the small reducing the need for racking and filtering. The vessels are enjoying a bit of a renaissance at the moment as consumers are more and more willing to go the natural or minimal intervention wine route.



Racy wines offer higher levels of acidity. Similar to nervous or nervy.


An abbreviated form of Qualitätswein mit Prädikat, which translates loosely as "quality wine with distinction" and denotes the highest quality of German wines.


Ratings are numbers given to wines to show how a taster ranks them against other wines in a similar peer group. Synonymous with scores.

Raspo (It)

Italian term for a stem of a bunch of grapes


An Italian sweet wine made from dried (passito) grapes.

Recioto della Valpolicella

Recioto della Valpolicella is an intensely flavored, sweet red wine made from dried (passito) grapes in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy.


Removal and replacement of the original cork, due to age. In France, corks can be marked “Rebouchée.”

Red Table Wine

Created for tax purposes, red table wines vary in alcohol from 11%-14%. This is the same as a Table Wine.

Red Wine

Wine with a light to deep red color made from dark-skinned grapes.

Reduction or Reductive Wine

A wine that has just completed fermentation requires finished oxygen to develop correctly. Oak barrels are the perfect vessel, as they allow the correct amount of oxygen to enter the wine. Reductive wine develops when the wine is under oxidization. It is the opposite of oxidized wine where too much oxygen is present in the wine.


The reductive-oxidative way that wine ages. As one part gains oxygen and becomes oxidized, another part loses oxygen and becomes reduced. Early in its life, a wine will exhibit oxidative aromas and traits due to the relatively recent influence and exposure of oxygen when the wine was barrel aged and/or bottled.


A large bottle holding 4.5 liters, the equivalent of six regular wine bottles.

Resa (It)

Italian term for theyield of grapes from a vineyard

Retrogusto (It)

Italian term for the aftertaste of a wine


Thousands of years ago the Greeks discovered that adding pine resin (pitch) to wine helped to keep it preserved by preventing the wine from spoiling. Apparently they became enamored of its distinct taste in wine, and Retsina, with its resin flavor still derived from pitch, is the direct descendent of its ancient predecessor.

Rhine Wine

In Germany the phrase indicates wines made in the Rhine Valley. In the U.S., however, the phrase is generic and applied mostly to semi-sweet white wines with an alcohol content under fourteen percent.


One of the longest rivers in Western Europe, it starts in Switzerland and then wends its way into and through France in a valley that for a 125 mile stretch makes up one of the great French wine regions - from Avignon in the south of France to just below Vienne to the north.

Rhône Blend

A wine blend made with grapes commonly found in wines from France’s Rhône region, including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Viognier.


French term for a very sweet wine. Often used as a description for very sweet sparkling wine.


Along with Chardonnay, one of the top white grapes in the world; most popular in Germany, Alsace, and Austria.

Rifermentazione (It)

Italian term for the refermentation process, which involves to let the yeast act over the sugar of a wine, after the first fermentation.

Ripasso (It)

Italian term for a wine of high alcohol content, with greater complexity because it is blended with the skins of the grapes used in a dry grape wine. This way, a second fermentation begins.


A ripe wine is one that is produced when its grapes have reached the optimum level of maturity.


The descriptor in Italy (regulated by Italian law) that means the wine has been aged a certain number of years. Just how much depends on the wine.


Tasting term describing wine that is similar to a big and full-bodied wine, but with stronger flavors and aromas. Robust is a positive descriptive term.

Robusto (It)

Italian term for robust

Rosato (It)

Italian term for a rosé wine


French for "pink" and used to describe a category of refreshing wines that are pink in color but are made from red grapes.


Many a vacationer returns with photos of roses growing happily at the end of row after row of grapevines. They are essentially a viticultural canary-in-the-mine.


The word for "red" in Italian. In Italy, it sometimes makes up a part of the name of a wine, as in Rosso Piceno or Rosso di Montepulciano.

Rotondo (It)

Italian term foru a ''round'' wine, that is well balanced and has a moderate acidity


German word for red wines.


The French word for "red." In France "vin rouge" is red wine and the phrase is often used to order the house red.


A French term used to describe wine that is in the process of fermenting. It is still cloudy and contains yeasts in suspension. It is rich in sugars, which have not yet been transformed into alcohol.


A wine-producing locale in the south of France near the city of Perpignan, just north of the border with Spain. The region is commonly referred to as Languedoc-Roussillon but Roussillon has a character that is unique. A lot of honest, well-made table wine is produced in Roussillon, with Cinsault as the most common base varietal blended with Grenache, Syrah or Mourvedre.

Rubino (It)

Italian term for the ruby color of some wines.


A style of Port wine that is generally sweet. Also, could be referred to the color appearance of a wine.

Ruby Cabernet

An American grape variety cross-bred from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsault grapes. Developed in 1948 at the University of California at Davis, the grape variety was intended to be a more commercially viable alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon, which was slow to ripen.

Ruby Port

A type of port wine that has undergone aging in a wood barrel for two to three years. Because they're produced from relatively low-quality wines and bottled while still young (and bright red), ruby ports are usually the least expensive of the port wines.


The name for the Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio grape in Germany.


A wine that is unrefined and hearty.



The Saar is one of the Mosel River's tributaries and an area within the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer winemaking region. Being a challenging area for viticulture due to the cold climate, there are only a few vintages each decade that produce magnificent wines.


An early English term for what is now called Sherry.


A method of making rosé wines in which wine is bled from the must of a red wine to concentrate the red wine further. The “bled-out” juice is used to make the rosé.


A picturesque village and the second most important wine producing region in Bordeaux, France (the first being the Medoc region). The wines here are mostly Merlot based blends, although some are based on the Cabernet Franc varietal.


A large bottle holding 9 liters, the equivalent of 12 regular wine bottles.


An area in the Loire Valley known mostly for wines made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes.


A red grape native to Tuscany. It is the base grape for Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, and others.


A beverage in Spain that's traditionally a mix of fruit and red wine, served on ice. Authentic Sangria from Spain often includes the country's brandy which is somewhat sweet and has its own unique flavor.

Sans Soufre

French term for "without sulfur." Usually on bottle labels indicating a wine with absolutely no added sulfur (but not necessarily 100% sulfite free). The wine has to contain less than 10 particles per million of sulfites.

Sapido (It)

Italian term for a wine that is flavorful and full-bodied

Sapore (It)

Italian term for flavor


Sassicaia is a red wine made in Tuscany from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The wine is purposely made in the Bordeaux style and is produced from vines that were grown from cuttings from the famous First Growth (Premier Cru) Château Lafite-Rothschild estate

Satellite Appellations

Various small appellations located in the Right Bank that are close to, but not in St. Emilion. These regions are capable of producing some very nice wine, often offering some of the best value wines in Bordeaux.

Satèn (It)

Style of white sparkling wine that is produced in


A charming village situated on the Loire River in the central Loire Valley, Saumur is part of a larger wine producing area called Anjou-Saumur. Since the early 1800's the majority of the wine produced in the area is sparkling, and it has been made via the Méthode Champenoise.


A region in Bordeaux, France and, more famously, a dessert wine of the same name. The secret to the stunningly sweet Sauternes wine is the Botrytis Cinerea mold (noble rot), that attacks and dehydrates the grapes, concentrating their sugars.

Sauvignon Blanc

A white grape planted throughout the world. It is increasingly the signature wine of New Zealand.


Nestled in the Anjou area of the Loire Valley, this French town is famous for outstanding white wines made from Chenin Blanc grapes. In contrast to other wines of the Anjou area, Savennieres' wines are invariably dry.

Savory (or Savoury)

Tasting term describing a wine that is not fruity or sweet.


In the north of the Cote de Beaune region in Burgundy, France, this small village produces an abundance of light, high quality, reasonably priced red wines.

Sbocatura (It)

Italian term for the disgorgment process

Scelto (It)

Italian term for grape bunches that were hand-harvested


Meaning "castle" in German, the term is used similarly to "Château" in France, indicating a vineyard or estate on a wine label.

Schloss Johannisberg

Probably the most well-known German wine producing estate. In the early 18th century, Schloss Johannisberg became the first vineyard to record planting Riesling grapes exclusively. In 1775, there was an accidental delay in the harvesting of the grapes and, as a result, the sweetening effect of the Botrytis Cinerea fungus on grapes was discovered. The term Spatlese, meaning "late harvest" was later used to describe wines purposely picked later to create the same effect.


Wine writers and critics often apply numerical scores to denote a wine's level of quality vis-a-vis other wines in the same peer group. This is the same as a rating.

Screw Caps

Screw Caps, as well as synthetic corks, are increasingly popular, modern alternatives to using the centuries old practice of bottling wine with cork. Stelvin is the most common brand name for a screw cap hence sometimes used interchangeably.

Seated Tasting

Some wineries offer special seated tastings. At a seated tasting, you’ll sit comfortably while servers pour the wines for you and someone from the winery describes their characteristics. Wine dinners with a winemaker or another winery representative are an example of a seated tasting.


The French word for "dry," the term thus connotes a dry wine, which is the opposite of a sweet wine.


The Italian word for "dry". It is the equivalent of "sec" in French and denotes wines without a perceptible amount of residual sugars.

Second Growth

Term for château in the 1855 Classification of the Medoc that earned the second highest level of classification.

Second Wine

A second wine is often produced from an estate’s young vines, or from juice or grapes that is not considered to be at the desired level of quality for the estate's top wine.

Secondary Aromas

This is what happens to the scent of wine once it matures. It develops tertiary, non-fruit aromatics like truffles, tobacco, leather, tar, cedar and spice. This is a positive term.

Secondary Fermentation

The term, for on the positive side, what takes place to change still wine into Champagne or sparkling wine. On the negative side, this can also take place in the bottle due to remaining sugars and will create slight effervescence rendering a wine that was intended to be still to be vivace or in some cases frizzante.


During the wine making process, tiny particulates fall to the bottom of the tank or barrel. The wine is then removed from this sediment by "racking", in which the wine is moved to a new vessel while leaving the sediment behind in the old one. A much gentler method to clarify the wine as compared to using filtration.


Sekt is the German word for sparkling wine.

Selection Massale

Used often in Bordeaux by growers that want to replace unhealthy, or under performing vines with vine cuttings produced from the estates oldest, best vines from their vineyard. This helps promote a more unique character to the vineyard.


Prevalent in France's Bordeaux region, Semillon is a white wine varietal that's often found in a blend with Sauvignon Blanc, a unique combination responsible for the region's dry white wines and their famed sweet dessert wines from Sauternes.


Wines made in the United States but named after places that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau requires be modified by a US name of geographic origin. Examples would be New York Chablis, Napa Valley Burgundy or California Champagne.

Sesti (It)

Italian term for spacing, mostly used to refer to the density of planting in a vineyard.


Sexy wines are sensuous, silky and opulent. They are usually rich wines as well.

Seyval Blanc

A French hybrid grape that's a cross between a native grape of North America and a classic European grape, it is resistant to cold weather. It's gained favor in England, Canada, and New York State where conditions for growing grapes can be less than ideal.


A tasting term to describe a wine in which the acids are too strong or quite unbalanced.

Shaving a Barrel

Barrels are quite expensive so some producers, typically garagistes, “shave” previously used barrels. Shaving a barrel is the act of grinding/sanding the layer of the wood that has absorbed wine in previous vintages until a fresh wooden layer is exposed.


One of the three most famous fortified wines (along with Madeira and Port), Sherry is produced near the Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera. A wide spectrum of colors, sweetness, flavors, and quality can be found in Sherry, but there are basically two types: Fino and Oloroso.The main things separating the two are a yeast called "flor" and the alcohol level.


Shiraz is the name used in Australia for the Syrah grape variety, and it is that nation's most important red wine grape. Syrah was a widely planted grape varietal in the southern areas of France by the Middle Ages and Australia's Shiraz can trace its heritage to France, via South Africa.


A tasting term referring to the finish of a wine. Short is not a positive. The length of time that the flavors of a wine persist in the mouth after tasting is a significant indicator of quality.


A tastingSoil, or terroir consisting of a mixture of sand, flint and rocks. term to describe a wine in which the acids are too strong or quite unbalanced.


A term used when tasting for a wine that is not complex; it lacks different levels of flavor and aroma. Most wine is simple to some extent. Only the extraordinary ones are considered truly complex exhibiting primary, secondary and tertiary profiles.

Single Vineyard

Wines produced from grapes grown in one single vineyard, instead of multiple vineyard sites.


The grape's outermost layer, sometimes also called the husk or hull. The skin is important because it provides the majority of a wine's color and supplies much of its flavor and tannin as well. Many varieties of grape, including those earmarked for making red wines, have pulp and juice that is primarily light in color with some exceptions.


Type or rock soil or terroir often found in the Northern Rhône and in Germany. Slate is a fine-grained, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash.

Slow Oxidation

This technique involves removing the capsule and cork and allowing the wine to sit (breathe) for hours. This allows the wine to slowly evolve. It is typical for First Growth and other premier wines to be subdued upon opening and the contact with the oxygen allows the wine to demonstrate its full range and complexity.

Smoke Taint

When vineyards and grapes are exposed to smoke this can result in wines with undesirable sensory characters, such as smoky, burnt, ashy or medicinal, usually described as ‘smoke tainted’’. Fine particles (also known as PM2.5): particles generally 2.5 µm in diameter or smaller represent a main pollutant emitted from wildfire smoke, comprising approximately 90% of total particle mass.


A tasting term reflecting a smoke-like flavor and aroma in a wine. Sometimes it can result from the wine being aged in oak barrels; other times the smokiness comes via the soil from which the grapes were harvested. And in some cases it is smoke taint as a result of wildfires.


A term used in wine tasting referring to the way the wine feels in the mouth. This tactile impression is related to the wine's overall acidity, not just its tannins, which contribute to the sensation of a wine being "soft" or "hard".

SO2 or Sulphur Dioxide

Chemical compound shorthand for sulfur dioxide, a gas which is used as a preservative agent to help avoid oxidation. SO2 is a type of sulfite. Regulations globally require that a wine that contains over 10 particles per million disclose that the wine contains sulfites. In comparison, dried fruit like raisins, contains 10 to 20 times that amount.


One of the most well known white wines in Italy. It comes from the Soave region, in the area around Verona, in northeast Italy. Many wine enthusiasts would say the majority of Soave is uninspiring, produced to satisfy global desire for the famed wine.


A tasting term for wines that are in optimal balance: fruity, pleasing, and approachable. Usually it's indicative of a harmonious union between tannin and acid, both of which are expected to be low in a soft wine. It is the opposite of Hard.

Solera (or Solera System Wine)

Solera is a process of blending wines of different ages by transferring a fraction from barrel to barrel. As a result, the finished product is a mixture of different ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years. This is a labor-intensive process that creates a harmonious and compex end product with reliable quality over time. This method was popularized in Spain with sherry originally. Solera comes from the word sol which means floor in Spanish. Solera means "on the ground" and refers to the lower level of the set of barrels used in the process as well as refers to a stack of barrels holding wines of various ages.

Solfato (It)

Italian term for sulfate.


A wine tasting term for wines that are firm, full-bodied and full of alcohol, acidity, tannin, and fruit. Occasionally the word is applied to a young wine expected to evolve well with age.


An 18 liter wine bottle. Equal to 24 standard bottles.


An 18 liter wine bottle. Equal to 24 standard bottles.


A term used simply to indicate that a wine does not have any obvious defects. "Sound" is a low bar (any properly made wine should meet this criterion) so, while it is a positive term, it should not be thought of as praise.


A tasting term for a wine that's full of very sharp, vinegar-like acids. Sour wine is not simply tart. It is beyond that and implies the wine has a serious defect and is becoming vinegar.


A term used by detractors of Robert Parker for wines they deem were produced using some of the more modern, widely accepted winemaking techniques to achieve a high score by the famous wine critic. Used to denote “spoofed” or “tricked out” wine.


A cold drink typically made with soda water and white wine. Spritzers are a commonly requested drink at American bars. While some enophiles may consider it an offensive practice to adulterate wine with soda water, it's a custom that goes back centuries.


A description for wine with a slightly effervescent quality. In French this quality is known as perlant; in Italian it's frizzantA description for wine with a slightly effervescent quality. In French this quality is known as perlant; in Italian it's frizzante or vivace if it has a lower effervescence.e or vivace if it has a lower effervescence.

Spuma (It)

Italian term for the foam or effervescence of some wines, such as Prosecco


The Italian term for "sparkling". Spumante refers to fully sparkling wines, whereas wines that offer just a slight effervescence are known as "Frizzante".

Standard Bottle

A 750 ml wine bottle.


The South African name for the Chenin Blanc varietal, which is a popular and widely grown varietal in that country.


The most famous brand of screw cap (twist cap).


A term used to describe harsh, green characteristics in a wine, that are typically derived when the berries and the stems are macerated together. The use of pips and stems is associated with the desire to add more tannin to the wine.


An Australian term for a broad category of sweet wines included fortified and botrytized wines.


Wines that contain no carbon dioxide. They are not effervescent or sparkling.


Similar to Minerality. This aroma or flavor comes from grapes grown in intense mineral laden soils, normally filled with limestone. The sensation is of crushed rocks, stone or cement. This is a unique and desirable quality. The best wines are said to come from limestone.


A production method of artificially mellowing wine by exposing it to heat.

Straw (or Straw Yellow)

Descriptive term generally used to describe the color of white wine as opposed to the flavor or aromas.


Wine tasting descriptor for a wine (usually red) that's big, robust, powerful, and generally high in alcohol.


The term describes the framework formed by all of a wine's components (alcohol, acid, fruit, tannin, and glycerin) and their proportion to each other.


Wines that contain good levels of tannin and acidity as well as aging potential. Wines with higher tannins are considered structured.

Struttura (It)

Italian term for structure.

Sughero (It)

Italian tewrm for the cork (material)


Sulfites are naturally occurring and ambient on the grape skins. Sulfites are also compounds which are added to wine to prevent oxidation, microbial spoilage, and further fermentation by the yeast. Most Vin S.A.I.N.S. or “Brutal” wines require that no sulfites are added. Organic wines can contain up to 100 particles per million (varies by country). Conventional wines can contain up to 200 particles per million (varies by country)

Suolo (It)

Italian term for soil.


Found on Italian wine labels and most commonly associated with a regional classification that typically have more rigorous production quality standards. The rules are highly complex and vary by appellation. For the exact rules, it is best to refer to the Disciplinare, but typically indicates longer aging requirements before a wine could be released for sale.

Super Second

The term for Second Growth Bordeaux wines that are considered to be so good, they are better than most Second Growths, but not quite at the level of First Growth Bordeaux.


An individual with the genetic ability to taste a wider array of tannins and other bitter compounds. On average, women have twice as many taste buds as men. Hence, why most of the supertasters that have emerged in recent years are women. Asian people have four times as many taste buds as white men.

Super Tuscan

A red wine from Tuscany that is not made in accordance with established DOC rules. It is often a blended wine of superior quality containing Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot.

Sur Lie

French term for a wine that is aged on its fine lees, meaning seeds, skins and other grape solids along with yeast cells.

Sur Pointe

French term for a sparkling wine that has been aged with its neck down following the completion of autolysis but before dégorgement. Wines that are being riddled (remuge) will end up sur pointe with the yeast sediment consolidated in the neck of the bottle.


A German wine term for a sweet wine with more than 45 g/L residual sugar.


Opposite of dry. Sweetness in wine comes from any residual sugars that remain in the wine after fermentation is complete. This amount of sugar may range from a hardly perceptible one percent up to more than ten percent, making for intensely sweet wine.

Sweet Wine

Sweet wines are red or white wines which have varying degrees of residual sugar remaining.

Synthetic Closure

A term used to represent the artificial cork that is becoming increasingly common in the industry worldwide to combat cork taint flaws that plague natural cork.



Tafelwein translates as "table wine" in German.


An early A vessel for fermentation that is most often made of stainless steel, cement or oak. The term is used interchangeably with a vat.English term for what is now called Sherry.

Tank Method

Synonym of Charmat Method


Tasting term describing a wine that has a dry mouthfeel and strong tannins. The tannin level in a wine is caused by the seeds, stems and skins of the grape. Tannins soften as the wine ages and past the optimal drinking window for the wine they start to fall off.

Tartaric Acid

The small, harmless crystals found at the bottom of a wine bottle or the bottom of the cork. The crystals are harmless, odorless and lack flavor. They occur naturally when some wines age.

Tasting Flight

Refers to a selection of wines, usually between three and eight glasses, but sometimes as many as fifty, presented for the purpose of sampling and comparison.

Tawny Port (Portugal)

A pale port aged in wood sufficiently long for it to lose its red pigment, hence the name. In addition to imbuing a tawny color, extensive barrel aging also gives the wine a nutty aroma due to the prolonged exposure to oxygen. The finest tawny ports are typically labeled by their age, such as: ten, twenty, or even forty years old.

TCA (2,4,6-Trichloroanisole)

TCA is the chemical compound that is the main cause of cork taint in wine.


A synonym for the term "legs", meaning the viscous film that runs down the side of the glass after swirling. There is some disagreement about whether tears are a function of the glycerin in wine, thus indicating wine with a good body, or if it is simply related to the amount of alcohol.


Italian for "estate".


The most popular red grape in Spain; common in Rioja and Ribera del Duero.

Tertiary Aromas

Tertiary aromas in wine refer to the aromas that a wine develops during the aging process. This occurs through the exposure of wine to oxygen, oak and lees.

Tête de Cuvée

The phrase translates from French as "head blend." Unofficially, it's used to refer to the top sparkling wine blend within a given Champagne house.

Teinturier Grapes

Teinturier grapes are a unique category of grape varieties distinguished by their red-colored flesh and juice. Unlike most red grapes, which have clear juice and derive their color from the skins during the winemaking process, teinturier grapes have anthocyanins (pigments) not only in their skins but also in their pulp, resulting in a naturally deeper, more intense color in the wines made from them.

The term "teinturier" is derived from the French word for "dye" or "to dye," which reflects the grapes' ability to impart a deep color to wine. This characteristic is relatively rare among Vitis vinifera, the species of grape that includes most well-known varieties.

Some well-known examples of teinturier grapes include Alicante Bouschet, Saperavi, and Dunkelfelder. These varieties are often used in blends to enhance the color intensity of wines made primarily from grapes with clear juice. However, they can also be used to produce varietal wines, which tend to have a deep, rich color and robust flavors. Due to their intense pigmentation, teinturier grapes are also useful in making rosé wines, as they require less skin contact time to achieve the desired hue.


Terroir is a French term that describes the combination of environmental factors (what lies below and above the surface) and micro-climate (wind, sun, temperature, etc.) that affect the viticulture and viniculture and give a wine its unique character. Collectively, these characteristics shape the character of the grapes and subsequently the wines. Terroir is a reference to the site specific character of a wine that is as unique as your fingerprints.


The tactile sensation of a wine on one's palate, "texture" is more specific than "body", which is a more general term for a wine's impression. Wines with pleasing textures are often described as velvety, silky, or smooth.


A wine tasting term describing wines which are dense, rich, and somewhat heavy, typically with low acid levels.


A tubular instrument for removing a sample from a cask or barrel. Also called a pipe.


A tasting term for a wine that does not have much body and, thus, feels somewhat watery in the mouth. This is not necessarily a flaw; certain wine styles, like champagne for instance, strive more for balance and refinement than dense, full-bodied power.

Third Growth

Term for château in the 1855 Classification of the Medoc that earned the Third highest level of classification.

Three Tier Sytem

American system of wine distribution which in some states can require wineries to sell to an importer or in the case of it being an American winery, the distributor or wholesaler, who then sells it to the merchant, who sells it to you. This is the defacto system in Canada as well where the winery is referred to as Supplier, the importer as the Agency, and the merchant as the Licensee. Distribution is typically controlled by a government regulator commonly referred to as a Liquor Board, even if that function is outsourced to a private corporation.


A wine in which the fruit flavors have not emerged from behind big tannins yet. It’s anothernamed for “closed” and is often used to describe young tannic wines.


An Italian Bordeaux-style red wine produced in the Chianti region of Tuscany. When introduced in 1971 by Antinori, the wine broke with the heritage (and the rules) of the Chianti producing region by adding Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to the Sangiovese blend.


Spanish and Portuguese term for a red wine or grape.


Tirage is a liquid solution of yeast, wine and sugar that is added to the still base wine in order to create the secondary fermentation in bottle.


A descriptor used for wines that are rather boring and dull due to being old and beyond their prime.


Tasting term to describe warm toasted flavors coming from oak.


Tobacco is a common smell found in mature wines, especially from Bordeaux. The aromas can range from cigar tobacco to ash or even pipe aromatics. This is a tertiary aroma and a positive trait.


A dessert wine made in Hungary from botrytised Furmint grapes.


Coffee with vanilla aromatics, with scents arising from the oak barrels during the aging process.


This descriptor is applied to wines that taste hard or astringent due to having an excess of tannin. Many tough wines soften and improve after being aged.


Similar to classic. Traditional is most often used for Bordeaux and California wine when the wine is less alcoholic, less ripe and more austere than modern tasters prefer. It can be a pejorative term.


A French term for the amount of wine released for sale by the château during the En Primeur campaign. Loosely translated, a tranche is a slice of the wine produced that year.


The ability of a wine to clearly portray all unique aspects of its flavour: fruit, floral, and mineral notes.

Triple Digits

Slang term for wines reaching 100 point score.


German word for 'dry.'


A German term meaning approximately “A late harvest of selected dry berries”. A type of German wine made from grapes affected by noble rot. Such grapes can be so rare that it can take a skilled picker a day to gather enough for just one bottle.


This important viticultural region in central Italy has been producing Chianti wines for centuries. Other well known wines from Tuscany include: Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.


How well a wine reflects the characteristics of its grape variety and terroir.



UGA, short for "Unità Geografica Aggiuntiva". It is a term used in the Italian wine classification system to denote specific subdivisions within a larger wine appellation or region. These subdivisions are defined based on geographical characteristics and are smaller than the overall denomination.


One of the five basic tastes, umami is a savory flavor. Meaty flavors in wines add umami. Umami is most commonly associated with mushrooms.


Unctuous wines have viscosity, or a rich mouth feel.


Also known as unwooded, refers to wines that have been matured without contact with wood/oak such as in aging barrels. The winemakers choose this approach when they want to achieve a truer and a purer expression of a single varietal wine.

Usual Wines

Delicious and clean wine, made the Old-World way in small batches from sustainably-farmed grapes with no sugar, no chemical additives, and minimal intervention.


Italian wine term for wine blend or grape blend. Uva in Italian and Spanish means a grape.



VA is short for volatile acidity.


Next to Chianti, this is the most heavily produced Italian red wine. Chianti comes from Tuscany and Valpolicella comes from Veneto. Valpolicella translates as "valley of many cellars", an apt description of the area to the north of Verona, northeastern Italy, where it's produced. Generally, Valpolicella is light, round, satisfying, and easy to drink, but when the harvest allows, an allotment of the grapes is allowed to dry prior to being fermented


The primary extract of the vanilla bean, also found in toasted oak barrels.


The type of grape used in a wine. For example, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are both varietals. In the United States, if a wine is labeled as the varietal must contain at least 75 percent of that grape. In the rest of the world, a wine must be at least 85 percent of the labeled varietal.


A vessel for fermentation that is most often made of stainless steel, cement or oak. Used interchangeably with tanks.


Italian term for "old".


Wines possessing the aroma or flavor of vegetation or vegetables (often bell peppers and asparagus), are referred to as having a vegetal character. These flavors can be a pleasant component of a complex flavor profile, and are commonly found in Cabernet Sauvignon based wines.


A wine tasting descriptor for wines with a smooth, rich, and silky texture.


A large wine-producing region in northeastern Italy at the mouth of the Padova plain, the largest valley in Italy, and home to the famous city of Venice.


A term for when the grapes start to change color from green.


An aromatized and fortified wine that is made with wormwood, flavoured with various botanicals (e.g. cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, chamomile, etc.) and sometimes colored.

Vertical Tasting

A vertical tasting consists of the same wines from a single producer, winery or vineyard in multiple vintages.


Wines that are fresh, lively, energetic, with good acidity, but also rich with depth. This is a positive trait.

Vieilles Vignes

French term for "old vines." A mostly unregulated term to describe wines made with grapes from old vines..


Spanish term for “old”

Vigneron (masculine) or Vigneronne (feminine)

French term for a wine maker or wine grower.A tasting term for a wine that does not have much body and, thus, feels somewhat watery in the mouth. This is not necessarily a flaw; certain wine styles, like champagne for instance, strive more for balance and refinement than dense, full-bodied power.


An Italian term for vineyard.


Tasting term describing wines with strong, forward fruit flavors.

Vin Blanc

Translated from French as "white wine".

Vin de Pays (VdP)

Translates from French as "wine of the country" and is a lower rank than the top AOC and secondary VDQS classifications.

Vin de Paille

A sweet wine made from grapes dried on straw (Paillé) mats. It is similar to passito in Italy.

Vin de Table (VdT)

The bottom classification of wine in France. Often they're not even bottled; rather they're dispensed at local cooperatives via a machine resembling a gas pump.

Vin Nouveau

French term similar to Vin primeur denoting a very young wine meant to be consumed within the same vintage year it was produced. Example: Beaujolais Nouveau.

Vin Rouge

Translates from French as "red wine".

Vin Santo

Sweet wine from Tuscany made from late-harvest Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes.


A vinegar scent that indicates the wine has been spoiled by ethyl acetate; the wine hasturned, usually from excess oxidation or over aging.


Refers to the entire process of creating wine from grapes.


"Vino" is the word for "wine" in both Spanish and Italian.

Vino da Tavola (VdT)

The Italian equivalent of Table Wine. Consistent with the rest of Europe, the designation is used in Italy for the bottom category of wines.


The scientific study of wines and winemaking.


Vintage is the process of picking grapes and creating the finished product. A vintage wine is one made from grapes that were all, or primarily, grown and harvested in a single specified year.

Vintage Port

Vintage port is produced only during years in which the grape harvest was of extraordinary quality. Known as a "declared" vintage, they occur about two or three times every ten years.


Someone who makes or sells wine. A wine merchant.

Vintage Port

Vintage port is produced only during years in which the grape harvest was of extraordinary quality. Known as a "declared" vintage, they occur about two or three times every ten years.


Spanish for vines.

Vitis Vinifera

The genus "vitis" is made up of over forty individual grape species, and Vinifera is the shining star among them as it is the species from which almost every wine (and certainly every fine wine) is produced.


A French word that translates as "vine grower". In most cases the term is applied to the owner of a vineyard or the chief manager.


The field of study involving specifically the growing of grapevines.


Italian term for a “lively” or lightly sparkling wine. Vivace wines are slightly less effervescent than frizzante wines.


Negative characteristic used to describe wine that has an off-scent like vinegar


Type of soil and terroir, often found in Sicily around Etna, Santorini, Mexico, Napa Valley and many other regions that comes from rocks, stones, lava, ash and pumice, that were created through volcanic eruptions.


An appellation in France's central Loire Valley. The vineyards surrounding the town of Vouvray grow Chenin Blanc almost entirely, and the character of the wine of this region ranges from dry and crisp to lush, with beautiful,sweet fruit flavors predominating


Waiter’s Friend

Also called sommelier knife, a popular type of corkscrew used in the hospitality industry.


This descriptor is applied when a wine is thin and lacks flavor, body, alcohol, and acidity. In other words, it tastes diluted.


An aroma or flavor of freshly cut grass or hay.


A term applied to assertive, powerful, full-bodied wines.


The term means "wine" in German.

White Wine

A type of wine produced from grapes that are fermented without grape skin contact. Wine colors may range from pale yellow to yellowish-green to deep gold.

White Zinfandelgetal

A wine that snobs tend to scorn, probably due as much to its popularity among neophytes as to its character as a wine, this quaffable blush wine (called a rosé in France) was developed in the late 70's and very quickly achieved significant popularity.

Whole Bunch Vinification

Method of fermenting the grapes with the stems still attached.


An alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of unmodified grape juice.

Wine Brand

A wine brand refers to a specific label or name under which a winery markets its wine. It often reflects the winery's identity, quality, and style, and can be distinguished by unique characteristics such as grape varieties, region of production, and winemaking techniques. Wine brands are used to establish a product's reputation and recognition in the market. In order togive visibility to your winebrand, you will need to create a story, where you talk about its values and goals. If you want to learn how to build a strong wine brand, you can check this article about Wine Branding.

Wine Cave

A subterranean structure for storing and aging wine. Cave is the French word for cellar.

Wine Cooler

Very popular in the U.S. during the 80's, particularly among young adults, wine coolers are a mixture of low quality wine and various types of fruit juice, added to very sweet carbonated water. They often taste more like soda than wine.

Wine Glass

A drinking vessel specially designed for tasting wine.

Wine Label

The descriptive sticker or signage adhered to the side of a wine bottle. It is an integral component of Wine Branding. To learn how you can make your wine brand standout from the rest with a stunning wine label , you can read this article.

Wine Lake

Refers to the continuing surplus of wine over demand (glut) being produced in the European Union.

Wine Legs

Also known as wine tears, these streaks form on the sides of a wine glass after swirling. Although believed to indicate wine quality, that's just a myth.

Wine Pairing

The art of combining food with wine to create the best possible eating and drinking experience.

Wine Press

A device, comprising two vats or receptacles, one for treading and bruising grapes, and the other for collecting the juice.

Wine tasting

The sensory evaluation of wine, encompassing more than taste, but also mouthfeel, aroma, and color.


A person engaged in the occupation of making wine.


A building, property, or company that is involved in the production of wine.

Wine´s Tirage

This process is carried out to initiate the second fermentation of sparkling wines, in which a mixture of wine, sugar, yeast and is added to the still base wine in order to create the secondary fermentation.

Wood Aging

Refers to when wine is aged in wood barrels as opposed to clay amphoras, cement, or stainless steel.


Woody wines are oaky. They feature strong, often overwhelming scents of vanilla, coffee or smoke. They can also feel dry in the mouth. This is a flaw.


Short for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. A general designation intended for people interested in wine. It goes from WSET Level 1 to WSET Diploma (Level 4).



The woody tissue of a vine, inside of the vascular cambium layer, that includes heartwood and sapwood, which transports water and nutrients from the roots towards the leaves.



A wine that has gone through a secondary fermentation, like Champagne for example, may sometimes have a slight smell or flavor of freshly baked bread. In addition to Champagne, certain other wines are made to age sur lie meaning "on the lees" (which is composed primarily of dead yeast sediment left over after fermentation). These wines are also apt to have a similar yeasty flavor.

A wine that has gone through a secondary fermentation, like Champagne for example, may sometimes have a slight smell or flavor of freshly baked bread. In addition to Champagne, certain other wines are made to age sur lie meaning "on the lees" (which is composed primarily of dead yeast sediment left over after fermentation). These wines are also apt to have a similar yeasty flavor.



Wine that is not matured and usually bottled and sold within a year of its vintage.



Tasting term used to describe a wine with lively flavor characteristics with balanced fruit and