Wine 101

Glossary of Wine Terms


Wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs have their own language when speaking and writing about wine. We’ve put together this handy compendium of common wine terms so you can feel confident and knowledgeable when talking about wine.


The process of keeping wine at the proper tempature and humidity to allow it to reach it’s fullest potential


The french word used in a general way to describe almost any alcoholic beverage consumed before a meal to “whet” the appetite

Appellation controlee

Two words seen on (almost) French wine meaning “controlled Place name” used as a guide to the origin and quthenticity of the wine whose label bears those names


Mixing wines from different grape varities, different origins, different vintages, or similar wines with differing characteristics


Wines whose color varies from pale pink to dark pink and are simple, light-bodied, and somewhat sweet


The smell of a wine


Aerating wine before drinking it – best done by decanting


Synonymous with vineyard


The french word meaning growth, and a specific vineyard


French word for estate


The science of wine production from harvest to bottling


The result of a cross between two different grape varities

Late harvest

Used to describe wines made from especially ripe grapes or from grapes infested with noble rot

Micro climate

Refers to the combination of soil, altitude, angle of slope, drainage, orientation of the sun and their influences on wine quality


Most popular wine region in california

Noble rot

“BOtrytis cinerea” a beneficial mold responsible for the taste of some wines most notably sauternes. the mold forms on the skins of ripe grapes under specific conditions – humidity alternating with dry heat – sending filaments into the grapes, perforating the skin


The one wood in which wine can be counted on to imporve and is used for small to medium containers such as barrels, casks, pipes


A devastating insect which destroys grape crops


Word used on wine labels with no legal meaning


Deposit most red wines throw as they age in the bottle, not to be confused with cloudiness, haziness, or lack of clarity


A group of non-organic compounds, known as phenolic compounds, that exist in bark, wood, roots, seeds and stems of plants. In red wines, they are extracted from skins, seed, and possibly stems during fermentation and they impart structure, flavor, texture, and complexity. since it is also an antioxidant, it also enables a wine to age.


The most important of the 40 odd species that make up the genus vitis. Named “wine bearer”, vitis vinifera is responsible for almost all of the world’s finest wine

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