Acronym for “Anything but Chardonnay” or “Anything but Cabernet”. A term conceived by Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm to denote wine drinkers’ interest in grape varieties.


Abbreviation of alcohol by volume, generally listed on a wine label.


Acids give wine tartness. Several acids are in the grape before fermentation, and others arise afterward. Acids often make a wine seem “crisp” or “refreshing.”


A tasting term for the taste left on the palate after wine has been swallowed. “Finish” is a synonym.

Aging barrel

A barrel, often made of oak, used to age wine or distilled spirits.


Abbreviation for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, (English: Appellation of controlled origin), as specified under French law. The AOC laws specify and delimit the geography from which a particular wine (or other food product) may originate and methods by which it may be made. The regulations are administered by the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO).

Appellation of Origin

You might see this phrase on a wine label. It denotes the place where most of the grapes used in the wine were grown. An appellation of origin can be the name of a country, state, county or geographic region. Federal regulations require that at least 75 percent of the grapes must be grown in the named appellation of origin.


A wine that is either drunk by itself (i.e. without food) or before a meal in order to stimulate the appetite.


The smell of a wine. The term is generally applied to younger wines, while the term Bouquet is reserved for more aged wines.


The degree of astringency (how much a wine makes your mouth pucker) depends upon the amount of tannin a wine has absorbed from the skins and seeds of the grapes. A moderate amount of astringency is desirable-it creates a lovely flavour-in many red wine types.



A wine has balance when its elements are harmonious; when no one part dominates. Acid should balance against sweetness; fruit should balance against oak and tannin; alcohol balances against acid and flavor.


A large bottle containing 12 litres, the equivalent of 16 regular wine bottles.

Ban de Vendange

The official start of the harvest season in France.


A hollow cylindrical container, traditionally made of wood staves, used for fermenting and aging wine. Sometimes called a cask.


The French name for a 225 litre Bordeaux style barrel (Bordeaux hogshead). Will yield 24 cases of 12 bottles each.


A measure of the sugar concentration in grape juice;  roughly translates to ABV in wine after completion of fermentation.


A juicy, flavorful red wine made from Gamay grapes grown in the region of the same name.

Beaujolais Nouveau

The first Beaujolais wine of the harvest; its annual release date is the third Thursday in November.


A type of clay used in wine clarification.

The Berthomeau Report

Commissioned by French Ministry of Agriculture to better position the wine industry for the future.

Bianco, Blanc, Blanco, Branco

Italian/French/Spanish/Portuguese terms for a white wine or grape


A term originally meant to denote a location in a cellar where wine is stored but now often seen in brand marketing of some wines (i.e. Bin 75 Merlot, etc)

Biodynamic wine

Like biodynamic agriculture in general, biodynamic grape-growing stems from the ideas and suggestions of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), which predate most of the organic movement. The principles and practices of biodynamics are based on his spiritual/practical philosophy which includes understanding the ecological, the energetic, and the spiritual in nature.


French term for organic winemaking

Blanc de Blancs

A white wine, usually sparkling, made exclusively from white grapes, often Chardonnay.

Blanc de Noirs

A white wine, usually sparkling, made from red grapes.


The mixing of two or more different parcels of wine together by winemakers to produce a consistent finished wine that is ready for bottling. Laws generally dictate what wines can be blended together, and what is subsequently printed on the wine label.

Blind tasting

Tasting and evaluating wine without knowing what it is.


A Spanish wine cellar. Also refers to a seller of alcoholic beverage.


A bottle is a small container with a neck that is narrower than the body and a “mouth.” Modern wine bottles are nearly always made of glass because it is nonporous, strong, and aesthetically pleasing.

Bottle shock

Also known as bottle-sickness, a temporary condition of wine characterized by muted or disjointed fruit flavours. It often occurs immediately after bottling or when wines (usually fragile wines) are shaken in travel. After several days the condition usually disappears.

Bottle variation

The degree to which bottled wine of the same style and vintage can vary.


How thin or thick wine feels in your mouth. “Light body” connotes a thin feeling in your mouth. “Medium body” means that a wine is full-flavored, without being too heavy. “Heavy body” means the wine has a robust, round, and very rich feel.

Botrytis Cinerea

A beneficial mould that causes grapes to shrivel and sugars to concentrate, resulting in sweet, unctuous wines; common botrytis wines include Sauternes, Tokay, and German beerenauslese.


Smells that result from a wine’s ageing process. Bouquet can also describe a wine’s overall smell.

Box wine

Wine packaged in a bag usually made of flexible plastic and protected by a box, usually made of cardboard. The bag is sealed by a simple plastic tap.


The interaction between air and wine after a wine has been opened. Breathing may take place while the wine is decanting.


Wine spoilage yeast that produces taints in wine commonly described as barnyard or band-aids.


Describes a wine that has high clarity, with very low levels of suspended solids.


A standardized scale to measure the sugar content in grapes before fermentation. Most table wines are harvested between 19 degrees and 25 degrees Brix.


A French term for a very dry champagne or sparkling wine. Drier than extra dry.


A stopper used to seal a bottle or barrel. Commonly used term for corks.


An old English unit of wine casks, equivalent to about 477 litres (126 US gallons/105 imperial gallons).



Abbreviation seen on Spanish wine labels meaning Cooperativa Agrícola or local co-operative.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a variety of red grape mainly used for wine production, and is, along with Chardonnay, one of the most widely-planted of the world’s noble grape varieties.

California cult wines

Certain California wines for which consumers and others pay higher prices than those of Bordeaux’s First Growths (Premiers Crus).

Cane pruning

Cane pruning is when one or two canes from a vine’s previous year’s growth are cut back to six to fifteen buds which will be the coming growing seasons grape producers.


The parts of the grape vine above ground, in particular the shoots and leaves.


Italian term for winery.


The plastic or foil that covers the cork and part of the neck of a wine bottle.

Carbonic maceration

Whole, uncrushed grapes are fermented in a sealed vat containing a layer of carbon dioxide. This results in fruity, soft and distinct red wines. These wines have little tannin and are immediately drinkable. This is the method used throughout France’s Beaujolais region.


A wood barrel or storage vessel, often made from oak, that is used in winemaking for fermentation and/or aging.


Unit of the persistence of the wine’s finish in seconds. Derived from the word caudal (tail). A wine can have a caudalie of 8 or more seconds.[4]


Spanish sparkling wine made according to the traditional method of sparkling production.


A storehouse or storeroom used specifically for holding wine. Long ago, wine was best kept in underground cellars. Modern methods of insulation and temperature control have transformed the job of storing wine, making it possible for wine “cellars” to be above ground as well. Wine is best stored horizontally in a dark place with minimal temperature fluctuation. The optimal temperature for storing most wines is between 12°C and 16°C.

Cellar door

The area of the winery where point of sale purchases occur. This can be a tasting room or a separate sales area.


To age wine for the purpose of improvement or storage. Cellaring may occur in any area which is cool (12-16°C), dark, free from drastic temperature change, and free from vibrations. Bottled wines are typically cellared on their sides.


A town and wine region in northern Burgundy known for steely, mineral Chardonnay.


A wine shed, or other storage place above ground, used for storing casks, common in Bordeaux. Usually different types of wine are kept in separate sheds. The New World counterpart to the chai may be called the barrel hall.


A denominated region northeast of Paris in which Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes are made into sparkling wine.

Champagne flute

A piece of stemware having a long stem with a tall, narrow bowl on top.


The practice of adding sugar (usually from sugar beets or sugarcanes but sometimes using grape sugar) to the grape must prior to fermenting, to compensate for low sugar content/potential alcohol in the grapes. Only legally allowed in colder countries.


A type of wine, one of the “noble” white varietals.

Charmat process

The Charmat or bulk process is a method where sparkling wines receive their secondary fermentation in large tanks, rather than individual bottles as seen in Méthode Traditionelle.


Generally a winery in Bordeaux, although the term is sometimes used for wineries in other parts of the world, such as the Barossa Valley.

Chenin Blanc

A white grape common in the Loire Valley of France.


Italy’s most famous wine; derived from the Sangiovese grape.


Italian term for a very pale or light colored rosé


A French term for a wine that falls between the range of a light red wine and a dark rosé


British name for Bordeaux wine. Is also a semi-generic term for a red wine in similar style to that of Bordeaux.


A winemaking process involving the fining and filtration of wine to remove suspended solids and reduce turbidity.


In Australia, wine bottled without a commercial label, usually sold cheaply in bulk quantities.


French term for what was historically a vineyard whose boundaries were delineated by a walled enclosure. Commonly associated with vineyards in the Burgundy wine region such as the Grand Cru vineyard Clos de Vougeot.

Coates Law of Maturity

A principle relating to the aging ability of wine that states that a wine will remain at its peak (or optimal) drinking quality for as long as it took to reach the point of maturity. For example, if a wine is drinking at its peak at 1 year of age, it will continue drinking at its peak for another year.

Cold Duck

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

Cold stabilization

A clarification process in winemaking where wine is chilled to near freezing temperatures for several weeks to encourage the precipitation of tartrate crystals.


Winemaking organization that is jointly owned by a number of growers who pool their resources and vineyards to produce wine under one label

Cordon training

A method of vine training. Unlike cane pruning where the trunk itself is the only permanent, inflexible piece of the vine, cordon trained vines have one or two woody arms extending from the top of the trunk. These are then spur pruned.


A wine bottle stopper made from the thick outer bark of the cork oak tree.


A tasting term for a wine that has cork taint.


A tool, comprising a pointed metallic helix attached to a handle, for drawing Corks from bottles.

Cork taint

A type of wine fault describing undesirable aromas and flavours in wine often attributed to mould growth on chlorine bleached corks.


French term for the hillside or slopes of one contiguous hill region.

Country wine

A quality level intermediate between table wine and quality wine, which in France is known as vin de pays and in Italy as Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) . Also a synonym for Fruit wine.


Semi-sparkling wine; slightly effervescent. Also called frizzante.


French sparkling wine not made in Champagne region.


Spanish ageing designation. For red wines a wine needs to be aged at least 6 months in oak (in Rioja and Ribera del Duero it is 12 months in oak) and a total of 24 months before release. For Spanish whites there is no minimum oak aging but a Crianza designated wines needs to be kept at the winery for at least 18 months after harvest before being released to the market


A French term that literally means “growth”. May refer to a vineyard or a winery.

Cru Artisan

Bordeaux estate classification below that of Cru Bourgeois

Cru Bourgeois

A classification of quality Bordeaux wine estates in the Medoc that were not part of the originally 1855 Bordeaux classification.

Cru Classé

A French term for an officially classified vineyard or winery.

Cult wines

Wines for which committed buyers will pay large sums of money because of their desirability and rarity.


The French term for the period of time during alcoholic fermentation when the wine is in contact with the solid matter such as skin, pips, stalks, in order to extract colour, flavour and tannin. See also maceration.


A wine blended from several vats or batches, or from a selected vat. Also used in Champagne to denote the juice from the first pressing of a batch of grapes.



Refers to a process in which the must of a white wine is allowed to settle before racking off the wine, this process reduces the need for filtration or fining.


The process of transferring wine from a bottle to another holding vessel. The purpose is generally to aerate a young wine or to separate an older wine from any sediment.

Dégorgement tardive

French term for a Champagne that has been aged sur lie for an exceptionally long time (far beyond the usually 5-10 years of vintage Champagne) before going through degorgement.


A medium-dry sparkling wine. In Champagne, this a wine that has received a dosage of 32-50 grams/liter

Denominacion de Origen

Spanish for ‘appellation of origin;’ like the French AOC or Italian DOC.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata

Italian for a controlled wine region; similar to the French AOC or Spanish DO.

Dessert wine

Varies by region. In the UK, a very sweet, low alcohol wine. In the US by law, any wine containing over 14.1% alcohol. In the majority of the New World, indicated a sweet wine.


The process by which final sediments are removed from traditionally made sparkling wines prior to the adding of the dosage.


1. The abbreviation for Denominación de Origen, or “place name”. This is Spain’s designation for wines whose name, origin of grapes, grape varieties and other important factors are regulated by law.

2. The abbreviation for dissolved oxygen, the degree of oxygen saturation in a wine, which strongly affects oxidation of the wine and its ageing properties.


The abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or “controlled place name.” This is Italy’s designation for wine whose name, origin of grapes, grape varieties and other important factors are regulated by law. It is also the abbreviation for Portugal’s highest wine category, which has the same meaning in that country.


Portuguese, Italian, French and Spanish terms for a sweet wine


The abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, or controlled and guaranteed place name, which is the category for the highest-ranking wines of Italy.


A river in Portugal as well as the wine region famous for producing Port wines.


Wines with zero or very low levels of residual sugar. The opposite of sweet.



A term used to describe aromas and flavours that have a certain soil-like quality.

Eau de vie

French term for a grape-derived spirit such as brandy up to a maximum of 96% ABV. Its literal translation is “water of life”


German for ice wine, a dessert wine made from frozen grapes.

En primeur

A system commonly associated with Bordeaux wine where the previous year’s harvest is available for contract sales several months before the wine will be bottled and release.

En Tirage

French for “in pulling”, refers to the period of time in which bottled sparkling wine is rested in contact with lees generated during secondary fermentation. Part of the Méthode Champenoise process.

Entry-level wine

The wine from a producer’s portfolio that is the lowest cost for purchase and offers the most basic quality.


The process of removing the grapes from the stems, done either by hand or machine. Known in English as destemming.


A very dry sparkling wine. In Champagne, this is a wine that has received a dosage with between 0-6 grams/litre sugar


Everything in a wine except for water, sugar, alcohol, and acidity, the term refers to the solid compounds such as tannins. High levels of extract results in more color and body, which may be increased by prolonging the wine’s contact with the skins during Cuvaison.

Extra Dry

A sparkling wine that is sweeter than a brut. In Champagne, this is a wine that has received a dosage between 12-17 g/l sugar


Refers to the extra cost associated with buying wines en primeur that may include the cost of shipping to the importer’s cellars as well applicable duties and taxes.


Farm winery

A United States & South Africa winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site.


An unpleasant characteristic of wine resulting from a flaw with the winemaking process or storage conditions.


This is the way in which grape sugar is converted to ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, thereby converting grape juice into wine.

Fermentazione naturale

An Italian term for a “naturally sparkling” wine. This usually refers to a wine, such as Asti, that has been bottled before fermentation is completed so that a natural sparkle of CO2 can be achieved in the bottle


The straw-covered flask historically associated with Chianti.

Fighting varietal

A term that originated in California during the mid-1980s to refer to any inexpensive cork-finished varietal wine in a 1.5 liter bottle.


The process by which wine is clarified before bottling.

Fine wine

The highest category of wine quality, representing only a very small percentage of worldwide production of wine.


Substances added at or near the completion of wine processing, to remove of organic compounds for the purpose of increasing stability, improving clarity or adjusting flavour or aroma.


The finish is the overall taste that remains in your mouth after you’ve swallowed the wine; it’s the length and pleasantness of the aftertaste. A well-balanced, full-bodied wine usually has a long finish, while a well-balanced, light-bodied wine has a shorter finish.


Tasting term used to indicate a wine lacking in structure, often marked by low acidity.


A glass bottle that holds two litres of (usually inexpensive) table wine.

Flying winemaker

A winemaker who travels extensively across the globe, sharing techniques and technology from one region of the world to another. The term originated with Australian winemakers who would fly to Northern Hemisphere wine regions in Europe and the United States during the August–October harvest time when viticulture in the Southern Hemisphere is relatively quiet.

Fortified wine

Wine to which alcohol has been added, generally to increase the concentration to a high enough level to prevent re-fermentation.


Italian term for a semi-sparkling wine.


Italian term for a wine that has very slight effervescence, more than a still wine but less than a semi-sparkling. Similar to the French term perlant.

Fruit wine

A fermented alcoholic beverage made from non-grape fruit juice which may or may not include the addition of sugar or honey. Fruit wines are always called “something” wines (e.g., plum wine), since the word wine alone is often legally defined as a beverage made only from grapes.

Fumé Blanc

A name created by Robert Mondavi to describe dry Sauvignon Blanc.



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

Geographical Indication

A term used by the World Trade Organization to designate a wine region that can produce wines with defined characteristics (such as an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) in France).


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

Globalization of wine

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


A vineyard technique in which the bud-producing part of a grapevine is attached to an existing root.

Grande Marque

French term for a famous brand of wine, most commonly associated with the large Champagne houses.

Grand cru

French term for a “Great growth” or vineyard. In Burgundy, the term is regulated to a define list of Grand cru vineyards.

Grand Vin

French term most often associated with Bordeaux where it denotes a Chateau’s premier wine, or “first wine”. On a wine label, the word’s Grand Vin may appear to help distinguish the wine from an estate’s second or third wine.

Gran Reserva

Spanish aging designation that for red wine stipulates that it has been aged for a total of 5 years after harvest with at least 18 months in oak (in Rioja and Ribera del Duero the minimum is 24 months). For Spanish white wines the requirement is 4 years of total aging with at least 6 months in oak (increased to 12 months in Rioja and Ribera del Duero)


Spanish term for a sparkling wine that has been tank fermented as opposed to going through secondary fermentation in the bottle according to the Traditional Method used for Cava production

Grape juice

The free-run or pressed juice from grapes. Unfermented grape juice is known as “must.”


A red wine grape of the Rhone Valley of France, and elsewhere (especially Spain). In the southern Rhone, Grenache replaces Syrah as the most important grape (Syrah being more important in the north).

Green harvest

The removal of green (unripe) grapes from vines in the early stages of grape ripening in an attempt to increase the quality and concentration of grapes remaining on the vine.

Grüner Veltliner

A white grape popular in Austria that makes lean, fruity, racy wines.



French term for the foil and wire cork cage that are used to dress a bottle of sparkling wine


A tasting term for a wine that contains too much tannin and is therefore unpleasant. Hard wines often take a long time to mature.


A French word meaning ‘high.’ It applies to quality as well as altitude.


An aroma or flavour similar to green; often an indication of under ripe grapes grown in a cool climate.


Term for Rhine wines, usually used in England.


A wine barrel that holds approximately 239 litres (63 gallons).


A term used to describe a wine that does not have depth or body.

Horizontal wine tasting

A tasting of a group of wines from the same vintage or representing the same style of wine (such as all Pinot noirs from different wineries in a region), as opposed to a vertical tasting which involves of the same wine through different vintages. In a horizontal tasting, keeping wine variety or type and wine region the same helps emphasize differences in winery styles.


The genetic crossing of two or more grape types; common hybrids include Mueller-Thurgau and Bacchus


Ice wine

Wine made from frozen grapes. Written, and trademarked as a single word – Icewine – in Canada. Called Eiswein in German.


A large bottle holding six litres, the equivalent of eight regular wine bottles.


Abbreviation for “Indicazione Geografica Tipica”, the lowest-ranking of the three categories of Italian wine regulated by Italian law.

International variety

Grape varieties grown in nearly every major wine region, for example Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot



A large bottle holding 3-5 litres, the equivalent of 4-6 regular wine bottles.

Jug wine

American term for inexpensive table wine (French: Vin de table).



A German term for a wine of quality; usually the driest of Germany’s best Rieslings.

Kosher wine

Wine that is produced under the supervision of a rabbi so as to be ritually pure or clean.



Grape types native to North America such as Concord and Catawba.

Late harvest wine

Also known as late picked, wine made from grapes that have been left on the vine longer than usual. Usually an indicator for a very sweet or dessert wine.


Wine sediment that occurs during and after fermentation, and consists of dead yeast, grape seeds, and other solids. Wine is separated from the lees by racking.


The drops of wine that creep down the side of the wine glass. A higher alcohol content means thinner legs flow back into the wine after you swirl the glass.


A tasting term for a wine that has had long exposure to Ultraviolet light causing “wet cardboard” type aroma and flavour.

Liqueur de tirage

French term for a liquid containing saccharose and yeast used to effect the second fermentation in sparkling wine production.

Liqueur d’expedition

French term for “shipping liquid”, used to top up and possibly sweeten sparkling wine after disgorging. Usually a solution of saccharose in base wine.


French term for the dead yeast and sediment of wine also known as lees.


A river in central France as well as a wine region famous for Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc.



The contact of grape skins with the must during fermentation, extracting phenolic compounds including tannins, anthocyanins, and aroma. See also Cuvaison.


A fortified wine that has been made on a Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco since the fifteenth century.


A wine that has been oxidatively aged by maderisation. Often associated with the wines of Madeira


A bottle holding 1.5 litres, the equivalent of two regular wine bottles.


A hearty red grape of French origin now exceedingly popular in Argentina.

Malolactic Fermentation

Also called “secondary fermentation.” The sharp malic acid in wine converts to lactic acid and carbon dioxide, thereby decreasing tartness and creating buttery flavours and aromas.


French term for a grape grower who makes their own wine. Often associated with the Champagne wine region where producers of Grower Champagnes are identified by the initials RM (for Récoltant-Manipulant) on wine labels


The distillate made from pomace. The term can also refer to the pomace itself or, in the Champagne region, to individual press fractions from the traditional vertical wine press.

Master of Wine

A qualification conferred by The Institute of Masters of Wine, which is located in the United Kingdom.

May wine

A light German wine flavoured with sweet woodruff in addition to strawberries or other fruit.


A wine-like alcoholic beverage made of fermented honey and water rather than grape juice.


Originally created in California, these blended wines can be summed up as the “American Bordeaux”. The term is a blend of the words “merit” and “heritage” and pronounced the same. The Red blend is made from at least 2 of the 5 Bordeaux grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. The White Meritage is a blend at least 2 of Sauvignon blanc, Sauvignon vert, and Semillon. Term also used in South Africa.


A section of Bordeaux on the west bank of the Gironde Estuary known for great red wines; Margaux, St.-Estephe, and Pauillac are three leading AOCs in the Medoc.


Merlot is a variety of wine grape used to create a popular red wine.


A large bottle holding six litres, the equivalent of eight regular wine bottles.

Mid palate

The balance of weight, acidity and fruit flavours that are perceived while the wine is still in the tasters mouth and before swallowing


French term for an appellation, where all the vineyards in the appellation are under single ownership.


The sparkling effervescence of a wine. In the glass it perceived as the bubbling but the surface of the glass can affect this perception. Premium quality sparkling wine has a mousse composed of small, persistent string of bubbles.


French term for a sparkling wine

Mulled wine

Wine that is spiced, heated, and served as a punch.


The juice of freshly pressed grapes



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 litres, the equivalent of 20 regular wine bottles.


French for “trader”. A wine merchant who assembles the produce of smaller growers and winemakers and sells the result under its own name.

New World wine

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

Noble rot

A fungal disease caused by Botrytis cinerea that results in dehydrated and shrivelled grapes that are high in concentrated sugar and acid. Noble Rot grapes are an essential component of many Austrian and German wines.


The aroma or bouquet of a wine.



A term used to describe woody aromas and flavours; butter, popcorn, and toast notes are found in ‘oaky’ wines.


A wine aficionado or connoisseur.


The study of aspects of wine and winemaking.


A wine that has the barest hint of sweetness; a slightly sweet wine in which the residual sugar is barely perceptible.

Old vine

Wine produced from vines that are notably old.

Old World wine

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


Grapes grown without the aid of chemical-based fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.


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.


A wine that is no longer fresh because it was exposed to too much air.



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


A measure of the acidity. The lower the pH, the higher the acidity. The term comes from the French Pouvoir Hydrogéne meaning “hydrogen power”. pH is a shorthand for its mathematical approximation: in chemistry a small p is used in place of writing log10 and the H here represents [H+], the concentration of hydrogen ions.


A minute (ca. 0.75 mm) underground insect that kills grape vines by attacking their roots.


An area in northwest Italy known for Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto, and Moscato.

Pinot Blanc

A white grape popular in Alsace, Germany, and elsewhere.

Pinot Gris

Also called Pinot Grigio, this is a grayish-purple grape that yields a white wine with a refreshing character.

Pinot Noir

The prime red grape of Burgundy, Champagne, and Oregon.


A hybrid between Pinot Noir and Cinsault that is grown almost exclusively in South Africa.


Grape seeds.


A cask holding two hogsheads or 126 U.S. gallons of wine.


British English slang for an inexpensive bottle of wine. The term is thought to originate from the French word for white wine, “blanc”.


The skins, stalks, and pips (seeds) that remain after making wine. Also called marc.


A sweet fortified wine, which is produced from grapes grown and processed in the Douro region of Portugal. This wine is fortified with the addition of distilled grape spirits in order to boost the alcohol content and stop fermentation thus preserving some of the natural grape sugars. Several imitations are made throughout the world.

Potassium sorbate

A wine stabilizer and preservative.

Premier cru

French term for a “First growth”. Used mostly in conjunction with the wines of Burgundy and Champagne where the term is regulated.

Premium wines

Higher quality classification of wine above every day drinking table wines. While premium wines maybe very expensive there is no set price point that distinguishes when a wine becomes a “premium wine.” Premium wines generally have more aging potential than every day quaffing wines.


The process by which grape juice is extracted prior to fermentation; a machine that extracts juice from grapes.

Primary aromas

The aromas in wine 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 aging process in the bottle.

Primeur (en)

A French term for wine sold while it is still in the barrels; known as ‘futures’ in English-speaking countries.


The annual vineyard chore of trimming back plants from the previous harvest.


The indentation found in the base of a wine bottle. Punt depth has no relation to wine quality, and is simply a necessary structural component of the glass bottle.


Quality-Price Ratio (QPR)

A designation for rating wine based on the ratio of its quality and its price. The higher quality and less expensive price a wine has, the better the ratio.

Quaffing wine

A simple, everyday drinking wine


Portuguese term for a wine estate.



The process of moving wine from barrel to barrel, while leaving sediment behind.


An Italian sweet wine made from passito grapes.


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. As the wine ages and is shut off from a supply of oxygen in the bottle, a mature wine will develop reductive characteristics.


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


Spanish aging designation. For red wines this means that a wine has been aged for at least 3 years following harvest with at least 12 months in oak. For Spanish white wines, the designation means that the wine has been aged for at least 18 months with at least 6 of those months in oak.


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


A largely New World term indicating a wine of higher quality; it has no legal meaning.

Residual sugar/RS

The unfermented sugar left over in the wine after fermentation. All wines, including those labelled as “dry wines” contain some residual sugars due to the presence of unfermentable sugars in the grape must such as pentoses.


A river in southwest France surrounded by villages producing wines mostly from Syrah; the name of the wine-producing valley in France.


Also known as “Rémuage” in French, part of the Méthode Champenoise process whereby bottles of sparkling wine are successively turned and gradually tilted upside down so that sediment settles into the necks of the bottles in preparation for degorgement.


A variety of grape used to make white wine. It is grown mainly in Germany, where the relatively cold climate enables it to produce grapes for some of the best white wines in the world. Riesling grapes are also used also for high quality wines in Austria and can be found in countries like Australia, South Africa and Canada. Riesling is famous for its vivid acidity and fruitiness both in the nose and on the palate.


A well-known region in Spain known for traditional red wines made from the Tempranillo grape.

Rosé wines

Pink wines are produced by shortening the contact period of red wine juice with its skins, resulting in a light red colour. These wines are also made by blending a small amount of red wine with white wine.


A style of Port wine that is generally sweet.



An early English term for what is now called Sherry.


A large bottle holding nine litres, the equivalent of 12 regular wine bottles.


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


The dominant grape used in making the Italian wine known as Chianti.


A tart punch made from red wine along with orange, lemon and apricot juice with added sugar.


A sweet Bordeaux white wine made from botrytized Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle.

Sauvignon Blanc

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


An alternative to cork for sealing wine bottles, comprising a metal cap which screws onto threads on the neck of a bottle. Also called a “Stelvin”.


French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese terms for a dry wine. In Champagne production, “Sec” wines are actually medium-dry being sweeter than Brut and Extra Dry with 12-17 grams/litre of sugar added in the dosage.

Secondary aromas

The aromas in wine that are derived from the winemaking process which includes fermentation as well as potentially malolactic fermentation and oak aging. This is in contrast to the primary aromas which come from the grape variety itself and the tertiary aromas which come from aging process in the bottle.

Secondary fermentation

Most commonly the term is used to refer to the continuation of fermentation in a second vessel – e.g. moving the wine from a stainless steel tank to an oak barrel. Can also mean malolactic conversion.


German sparkling wine.


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.


A plump white grape popular in Bordeaux and Australia; the base for Sauternes.


A fortified wine that has been subjected to controlled oxidation to produce a distinctive flavour, produced in the Triangulo de Jerez region of Spain.


Shiraz or Syrah is a variety of grape used to make red wine. Shiraz is most often used in Australia for the French varietal Syrah and are the same grape.


A term used to describe a wine with an especially smooth mouthfeel.

Solera system

A process used to systematically blend various vintages of Sherry.


A wine expert who often works in restaurants.

Sparkling wine

Effervescent wine containing significant levels of dissolved carbon dioxide.


A term used to describe certain aromas and flavours that may be sharp, woody, or sweet.


A wine bottle that holds approximately 6 oz (175-187 mL) or one-fourth the equivalent of a typical 750 mL bottle; a single-serving.


Italian term for a sparkling wine made from any production method


A term used to describe an extremely crisp, acidic wine that was not aged in barrels.


A term used to describe harsh, green characteristics in a wine. Can indicate the retention of a large percentage of stems included in the ferment.


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

Super Seconds

A term used in relation to lower classified Bordeaux wine estates that come close in quality to the First Growth Bordeaux estates.

Super Tuscan

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

Sur lie

French term for a wine that has spent time aging on the lees during which it may have derived some flavors from autolysis. Often associated with the Loire wines of the Muscadet region.

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.


The most famous brand of screwcap.

Still wine

Wine that is not sparkling wine.

Stoving wine

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


Compounds (typically: potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite) which are added to wine to prevent oxidation, microbial spoilage, and further fermentation by the yeast.

Sulphur dioxide

A substance used in winemaking as a preservative.

Sweetness of wine

Defined by the level of residual sugar in the final liquid after the fermentation has ceased. However, how sweet the wine will actually taste is also controlled by factors such as the acidity and alcohol levels, the amount of tannin present, and whether the wine is sparkling.


A red grape planted extensively in the Rhone Valley of France, Australia, and elsewhere; a spicy, full and tannic wine that usually requires aging before it can be enjoyed.


Table wine

Generally any wine that is not sparkling or fortified. In the US these wines must also be between 7% and 14% alcohol by volume. The term table wine also refers to a wine that is considered a good, everyday drinker. In the European Union, the “Table Wine” category (and “Table Wine with a Geographical Indication”) was previously the quality category that came below “Quality Wines” or Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions (QWPSR) such as French AOC and Italian DOCG wines until both terms were eliminated in 2009. Now most European wines that were formally labelled as “Table Wines” are just labelled as “Wine” while those that were labelled as “Table Wine with a Geographical Indication” are now Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).


Naturally occurring substances found mostly in grape skins, seeds and stems. They can give young wines a mouth-puckering bitterness and astringency, but some tannins are desirable in red wines to give them structure.


A tasting term describing a wine high in acidity. Often displayed by young, unripe wines.

Tartaric acid

The most important and most common acid found in grapes.

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.


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


Special characteristics expressed in a wine that result from the interaction of geography, geology, climate, and the plant’s genetics.

Tertiary aromas

The aromas in wine that are developed as the wine ages in the bottle. This is in contrast to the primary aromas which come from the grape variety itself and the secondary aromas which come from the winemaking process.


A tasting term for the mouthfeel of wine on the palate.


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


The charcoal that is burned into the inside of wine casks. To toast refers to that process. It also refers to the practice of drinking an alcohol beverage along with wishing good health or other good fortune.


A dessert wine made in Hungary from botrytised Furmint grapes.


Spanish and Portuguese term for a red wine or grape


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


German 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. A Prädikat (protected quality wine designation) in Germany and Austria.


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



The space between the wine and the top of a wine bottle. As a wine ages, the space of ullage will increase as the wine gradually evaporates and seeps through the cork. The winemaking term of “ullage” refers to the practice of topping off a barrel with extra wine to prevent oxidation.


Also known as unwooded, refers to wines that have been matured without contact with wood/oak such as in aging barrels.


A tasting descriptor to describe a wine that has layers of soft, concentrated, velvety fruits. Unctuous wines are lush, rich, and intense.



Wines made from a single grape variety.


A large wine-producing region in northern Italy.

Vin Santo

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


An aromatized wine that is made with wormwood and potentially other ingredients.

Vertical wine tasting

In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery are tasted, such as a winery’s Pinot noir from five different years. This emphasizes differences between various vintages for a specific wine. In a horizontal tasting, the wines are all from the same vintage but are from different wineries or microclimates.


Spanish term for “old”


French for wine.


Spanish for vines.

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.


Italian and Spanish, originally derived from Latin, for wine.


A term used to denoting anything relating to wine.


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.


Someone who makes or sells wine. A wine merchant.


A fragrant, powerful white grape grown in the Rhone Valley of France and elsewhere.


The cultivation of grapes. Not to be confused with viniculture.


Italian term for a “lively” or lightly sparkling wine

Volatile acidity

The level of acetic acid present within a wine.


Waiter’s friend

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


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

Wine cave

A subterranean structure for storing and aging wine.

Wine label

The descriptive sticker or signage adhered to the side of a wine bottle.

Wine lake

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


A person engaged in the occupation of making wine.


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


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

Wine tasting

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



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 micro-organism present on the skins of grapes that reacts with the sugars inside and results in the production of ethyl alcohol during a process called fermentation.


A measure of the amount of grapes or wine produced per unit surface of vineyard.


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



A popular grape in California of disputed origin; scientists say it is related to grapes in Croatia and southern Italy.


The science of fermentation in wine.