Wine Terminology

ABC

In wine, ABC stands for ‘anything but chardonnay/cabernet.’

Acidity

Acidity in wine is the level of acid that the wine contains. Wines with more acid in them taste more tart or sour.

Aerator

An aerator is a small device that helps your wine breathe by exposing it to air when pouring.

Aftertaste

Aftertaste is the amount of flavor left over in your mouth after drinking a wine.

Aged Wine

Aged wines are wines that have been stored away for many years to develop their flavors. 

Aging

Aging is the process of storing wine away in bottles or barrels for a certain amount of time. 

Alcohol

Alcohol, also known as ethanol, is produced by yeasts when they consume the sugars in grape juice. 

Alsace

Alsace is a famous wine region in Northeastern France known for its white wines. 

Amarone

Amarone is an Italian wine made from a blend of dehydrated red grapes. It has a higher alcohol percentage and body than most wines. 

Anosmia

Anosmia is the medical term for loss of smell. People with anosmia may not taste wine very well. 

AOC

The term AOC refers to the French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, which governs how wines are made and labeled. 

Aperitif

An Aperitif is a style of wine or liqueur that’s meant to stimulate the appetite. 

Appellation

An appellation is a small geographical region where high-quality grapes are grown. 

Aroma

Aroma is the term used to describe the smell of a wine. 

Astringency

Astringency is the bitter or chalky texture and feeling in your mouth after drinking some red wines. 

AVA

AVA is an acronym for American Viticultural Area. 

Bacchus

Bacchus was the Greek god of wine and agriculture. 

Balance

Balance is when all the wine’s properties, from tannin to acidity, even out to create a single experience. 

Balthazar

A Balthazar is a bottle of wine that holds 12 liters or 16 standard bottles. 

Ban de Vendange

Ban de Vendange marks the start of a new vintage and harvest in France. 

Barrel

A barrel is made out of oak and used to store and age wine. 

Barrel Aging

Barrel aging is the process where a wine is aged in an oak barrel. 

Barrel Fermentation

Barrel fermentation occurs when a winemaker ferments their wine in oak barrels as opposed to steel tanks. 

Barrique

Barrique is the French word for barrel. It is often a barrel made to hold 225 liters. 

Baumé

Baumé is the scale used to measure sugar content in must, or the pressed grape juice. 

Beaujolais

Beaujolais is a wine made from gamay grapes in the region of Beaujolais, France. 

Bentonite

Bentonite is a clay-based compound used to clarify some white wines.

Bin

A bin is the container or location where wines are stored in a cellar. 

Bin Number

A bin number is the number used to identify a batch of wine that has been aging in a bin. 

Biodynamic Wine

Biodynamic wines are made with very specific holistic winemaking standards. 

Bite

A wine’s bite is the amount of bitter tannins and acidity. 

Bitter

Bitter is one of the basic tastes, along with sweet, salty, sour. 

Blanc de Blancs

Blanc de blancs is champagne that’s been made from 100% chardonnay grapes. 

Blanc de Noirs

Blanc de noirs are white sparkling wines and champagnes made solely from red grapes such as pinot noir. 

Blend

A blend is a mix of different grape varieties in one wine. 

Blind Tasting

A blind tasting is when people taste a wine without knowing what it is. 

Blush

A blush wine is a wine that looks pink and is made from red grapes. It is also known as rosé. 

Bodega

A bodega is a Spanish word that means winery. 

Body

Body is the feeling of weight a wine has in the mouth. 

Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a city and region in Western France that produces wines of the same name. 

Botrytis cinerea

Botrytis cinerea is a helpful mold that turns grapes into sweet raisins. 

Bottle Age

Bottle age refers to how long the wine has been in its bottle. 

Bottle Shock

Bottle shock is a term to describe a wine that has lost its aromas and flavors while in the bottle. 

Bouquet

Bouquet is the sum of the wine’s aromas or sometimes the secondary and tertiary aromas developed when a wine ages or is stored in oak. 

Boxed Wine

Boxed wine is wine that’s stored in a plastic bag and sold in a cardboard box. 

Breathing

Breathing refers to the process of aeration, or when oxygen and air interact with the wine. 

Brix

Brix is a standard measurement for sugars in grapes and must. 

Brut

Brut is a term used in France and other countries to describe a dry sparkling wine. 

Bunghole

A bunghole is the opening in a barrel where wine is poured and extracted to taste. 

Burgundy

Burgundy is a wine region in France and a style of red and white wine. 

Cabernet franc

Cabernet franc is a red grape that’s originally from Bordeaux, France. 

Cane Pruning

Cane pruning is a popular pruning style for grape vines that leaves one cane for new shoots to grow from. 

Canopy

The canopy of a grapevine is the section visible above ground. 

Cantina

A cantina is a word that often means a winery or wine cellar in Italy.

Cap

A cap is the dense section of stems and solids that rises to the top of a tank during maceration in wine making. 

Capsule

The capsule is the thin plastic or metal cover on the bottleneck. 

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is a gas that is produced as a byproduct of fermentation. 

Carbonic Maceration

Carbonic maceration is a form of maceration where whole clusters of grapes are fermented in a sealed tank with carbonic gas.

Cask

A cask is a wooden barrel used for wine fermentation. 

Caudalie

A caudalie is the time, in seconds, that a wine’s finish can be perceived on the palate. 

Cava

Cava is a popular sparkling wine from Spain. 

Cellar

A cellar is the underground location where wines are aged and stored. 

Chablis

Chablis is a wine region and style of wine from northern Burgundy, France. 

Champagne

Champagne is a sparkling wine that originates from the Champagne region of France. It is renowned for its effervescence, celebratory associations, and distinct taste. Made primarily from three grape varieties—Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier—Champagne undergoes a unique production process known as méthode champenoise or traditional method, where secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle, resulting […]

Champagne Flute

A champagne flute is a type of wine glass that’s used for sparkling wines and champagnes. 

Chaptalization

Chaptalization is when winemakers add a little sugar into the grape juice to make more body and alcohol. 

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the most planted and world-famous white grapes. 

Charmant Process

The Charmant Process is a secondary fermentation process used to make sparkling wines. 

Chenin Blanc

Chenin blanc is a white wine grape popular in France, South Africa, and California. 

Chianti

Chianti is a wine-growing region in Central Italy that makes world-class wines from sangiovese grapes. 

Claret

Claret is an English term for Bordeaux wines. 

Clarification

Clarification is the process where a winemaker removes solid particles from a fermented wine before bottling. 

Clarity

Clarity is the transparency of a wine. 

Clos

Clos, pronounced ‘cloh,’ is a French word meaning vineyard surrounded by walls. 

Closed

Closed wines are wines that still need time to develop their aromas and qualities. 

Color

Color is one of the most important signs of a wine’s quality, grape type, and age. 

Complex

A wine that is complex is a wine that has many primary, secondary, and tertiary aromas and flavors. 

Cooperative

A cooperative is a group or organization of grape growers who make wine under one label. 

Corkage

Corkage is the fee a customer at a restaurant must pay if they bring their own wine to a restaurant to be served. 

Corked

A corked wine is a wine that has been spoiled by mold on a cork or bottle. 

Corkscrew

A corkscrew is a small and practical wine opening device. 

Crémant

Crémant is a French sparkling wine that’s made outside of Champagne. 

Crianza

Crianza is a red wine aged for more than a year in oak barrels in Spain. 

Cru

Cru is a French term that denotes a wine’s quality.  

Cult Wine

Cult wines are wines that are highly praised by experts and sought after by collectors. 

Cuvaison

Cuvaison is the term for wine that’s been macerated in its skins and solids. 

Decant

Decant, or decanting, is the process of pouring a bottle of wine into a decanter to remove sediment and let the wine’s aromas open up. 

Decanter

A wine decanter is a vessel, typically made of glass or crystal, used to hold and aerate wine before serving. Decanters help to enhance your wine’s flavors and aromas. It serves several purposes, including separating sediment from older wines, enhancing the wine’s aroma and flavor by allowing it to breathe, and presenting the wine in […]

Decanter

A decanter is a glass or crystal vessel that’s used for decanting wine. 

Demi-sec

Demi-sec is a French term used to describe half-dry wines. 

Dessert Wine

Dessert wines are wines that have high sugars and acidity that are enjoyed during dessert.

Disgorge

Disgorge is the term for when the solids and particles of a sparkling wine are removed before secondary fermentation. 

Dosage

Dosage is a sweet liquid used at the end of the fermentation process for traditional sparkling wine. 

Dry

The term dry refers to wines with no residual sugar that taste completely non sweet. 

Duoro

The Duoro is a river valley and wine making region in northern Portugal that makes port and other wines. 

Fermented Wine

Fermented wine is any fruit juice that’s gone through fermentation. The fine wine we drink is made from fermented grape juice.

Reduced Wine

Reduced wine occurs when there isn’t enough oxygen during fermentation. This harmless process causes some wines to smell like rotten eggs or match sticks.

Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine is any wine with trapped CO2 bubbles. These wines include Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava.

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