The Ultimate Glossary Of Wine Terminology

Want to know everything there is to know about wine? Find out below in our ultimate glossary of wine terminology!

The Ultimate Glossary Of Wine Terminology

A

Acidity

The acidic levels of a wine that show as crisp, sharp, and lively.

Aeration

Oxygen is deliberately added to the wine to soften and round it out.

Aging

The process of storing wine in tanks, bottles, or barrels to better develop the flavors before it is ready to drink.

Alcohol

The final product from the process of fermentation, otherwise known as ethanol.

Aperitif

A wine that can be enjoyed before a main meal on its own.

Aroma

The smell given off by a young wine.

B

Balance

Describes all elements of a wine and how they relate to each other, such as tannins, acidity, oak, fruity, or other tasting notes.

Barrel

A container generally made from oak where wine is kept while it ages and ferments.

Beaujolais

A red wine crafted using Gamay grapes which is typically flavorful and juicy.

Bianco, Branco, Blanco, Blanc

Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and French terms used to describe white grapes or white wine.

Blend

Used to describe a wine that has been crafted using more than a single grape varietal.

Blind Tasting

A wine tasting where the taster doesn’t know the details of the wine.

Body

Used to describe the feel and weight of the wine in your mouth.

Bordeaux

One of the largest wine producing regions in France. Also the name of a red wine produced in the same region.

Bouquet

The full aromas of the wine in question.

Breathing

Allowing a wine to breathe introduces oxygen to the liquid which works to improve the texture and perfume of the wine.

Brix

Used to measure the amount of sugar added to unfermented grapes.

Brut

French term for dry sparkling wines and champagne, pronounced “brute”.

Burgundy

A French region where red wine is typically produced.

C

Cabernet Franc

A common red grape in the Bordeaux region.

Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the most popular red grapes used for Bordeaux wines.

Cava

Spanish version of a sparkling white wine.

Champagne

French sparkling white wine that has to be made in the Champagne region of France.

Chardonnay

One of the most popular white grapes planted around the globe, used to make Chardonnay wine.

Chenin Blanc

A common white grape grown in the Loire Valley of France.

Chianti

A Tuscan red wine crafted using Sangiovese grapes.

Claret

English term used to describe red wines originating from the Bordeaux region.

Corked

A wine that has gone bad.

D

Demi-Sec

A sweeter sparkling wine that is half dry.

Dessert Wine

A sweeter wine, often served with the last course of the meal.

Dry

Wine that contains a maximum of 0.2% unfermented sugar.

E

Endnote

The finishing notes of a wine.

Extra Brut

A sparkling wine that is very dry, typically champagne.

Extra Dry

Sweeter than a brut sparkling wine.

F

Fermentation

The process that converts the sugar from grapes into alcohol using yeast.

Fortified Wine

A wine that has had other spirits such as brandy added to it.

Full Bodied

Wine that has lots of flavors and is high in alcohol.

G

The Ultimate Glossary Of Wine Terminology

Gamay

A popular red grape in the Beaujolais region.

Gewürztraminer

A popular white grape that is spicy and sweet.

Gran Reserva

Spanish term for a wine that has been aged in bottles or wood for at least 5 years.

Grenache

A popular red grape grown in Spain and France.

Grüner Veltliner

A popular white grape grown in Austria.

H

Herbaceous

Smells of fragrant herbs.

Horizontal Wine Tasting

A wine tasting where wines from the same vintage are enjoyed.

I

Ice Wine

A type of wine that is made using frozen grapes.

J

Jug Wine

Relatively inexpensive table wine.

K

Kabinett

An Austrian and German wine designation.

L

Labrusca

A native grape to North America.

Legs

Describes how well a wine sticks to the sides of a glass after swirling or drinking.

M

Maceration

A process used to ferment grape skins and grape juice.

Madeira

A fortified wine made on the island of the same name.

Mouth-Feel

The feel of the wine on the mouth palate.

Must

The leftover stems, seeds, and skins from the winemaking process.

N

Nose

Another word for bouquet.

O

Oak

Woody flavors and aromas in wine.

Oxidation

The process that occurs when wine is exposed to too much air.

P

Pinot Blanc

A popular white grape in Germany.

Pinot Grigio

Popular white grapes used to make wine of the same name.

Pinot Noir

The red grape of choice for Oregon, Burgundy, and Champagne.

Plonk

An English term for cheap wine.

Port

A fortified wine that is sweeter than other red wines.

Press

A process used to extract white grape juice.

Prosecco

An Italian sparkling white wine.

Q

Quaffer Wine

An easy to drink, inexpensive wine.

R

Riddling

Champagne bottles are rotated to shift the sediment in the bottle towards the cork.

Riesling

Sweet dessert wine using grapes of the same name.

Rioja

Spanish growing region where red wines are crafted.

Rosé

A pink wine.

S

Sangiovese

A popular red grape that is native to Tuscany.

Sangria

A Spanish cocktail made using red wine, fresh fruit, spices, and brandy.

Sauvignon Blanc

A popular white grape often grown in New Zealand.

Sec

A French word for dry.

Sherry

A Spanish fortified wine.

Shiraz

A red wine made using Syrah grapes.

Sommelier

A wine butler who knows a lot about wine.

Super Tuscan

Term used to describe red wines from Tuscany that aren’t made using just sangiovese grapes.

Syrah

A red grape that is popularly grown in Australia and France.

T

Tannins

The bitter compounds in a wine that give a puckered, dry feeling to the mouth.

Terroir

French term for the growing conditions of a vineyard.

U

Ullage

The air space in barrels and bottles left once the wine has evaporated.

V

Varietal

A type of wine crafted using a single grape, usually of the same name.

Vermouth

An aromatic fortified wine often using botanicals.

Vertical Tasting

A wine tasting featuring wines from the same producer, often across different vintages.

Vintage

The year that a grape was harvested in.

W

Weight

Similar in concept to “body”.

Wine Cave

A below ground area where wine is aged and stored.

X

Xylem

A grape vine’s woody tissue.

Y

Yeast

The organism that needs to be added to grapes in order to start the process of fermentation.

Z

Zinfandel

A highly popular grape used in California for wine making. Typically produces a red wine of the same name, or a rosé wine called White Zinfandel.

In Summary

And there you have it! You now know the meaning behind all of the popular terms used by wine connoisseurs around the world.

How many of these terms have you heard of? How many have now been added to your vocabulary?

No matter the answer, you’re sure to be a veritable expert in the world of wines.

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