Wine Terms & Wine Lingo

Learning some wine terminology is often the first step to increasing your wine knowledge. Use our list below to help you along as you encounter new wine lingo.


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.


Generally refers to ethanol, a chemical compound found in alcoholic beverages. It is also commonly used to refer to alcoholic beverages in general.

Altar wine

The wine used by the Catholic Church in celebrations of the Eucharist.

Alternative wine closures

Various substitutes used in the wine industry for sealing wine bottles in place of traditional cork closures.


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.


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 flavor-in many red wine types.


Abbreviation for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a United States government agency which is primarily responsible for the regulation of wines sold and produced in the United States.


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.


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 the juice or wine.


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.

Biodynamic Wine

Wines produced by the principles of biodynamic agriculture.

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.


A red wine grape of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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.

Botrytis cinerea

See Noble rot.


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 flavors. 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.


It’s all about how thin or thick the 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.


Smells that result from a wine’s aging 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.


See "Burnt wine".


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


Describes a wine that has high clarity, 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.

Burnt wine

Another name for Brandy, a liquor made from distilled wine. It is often the source of additional alcohol in fortified wines.


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

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).


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

Canopy management

A range of viticultural techniques applied in vineyards to manipulate the vine canopy. This is performed for vine shape, limiting direct sunlight and disease control, in order to create an optimal growing environment.


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

Carbonic maceration

A winemaking practice of fermenting whole grapes that have not been crushed.


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 45°F and 65°F. Check out Serving and Storage for more details.


To age wine for the purpose of improvement or storage. Cellaring may occur in any area which is cool (12-15°C), dark, free from drastic temperature change, and free from vibrations. Bottled wines are typically cellared on their sides.

Champagne flute

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


A winemaking process where sugar is added to the must to increase the alcohol content in the fermented wine. This is often done when grapes have not ripened adequately.


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 champenoise.


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


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


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.

Cold Duck

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

Cold stabilization

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


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 flavors in wine often attributed to mould growth on chlorine bleached corks.

Country Wine

A quality level intermediate between table wine and quality wine, which in France is known as vin de pays. Also a synonym for Fruit wine.


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


French sparkling wine not made in Champagne region.


Sediment, generally potassium bitartrate, which adheres to the inside of a wine bottle.

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 color, flavor and tannin. See also maceration.


A large vat used for fermentation.


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.


The process of pouring wine from its bottle into a decanter to separate the sediment from the wine.


The disgorging or removal of sediment from bottles that results from secondary fermentation.


Moderately sweet to medium sweet sparkling wines.

Dessert Wine

Varies by region. In the UK, a very sweet, low alcohol wine. In the US by law, any wine containing over 15% alcohol.


The process of separating red must from pomace, which can happen before or after fermentation.

Diurnal temperature variation

The degree of temperature variation that occurs in a wine region from daytime to night.


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. Also, it is the abbreviation for dissolved oxygen, the degree of oxygen saturation in a wine, which strongly affects oxidation of the wine and it’s ageing properties.


Abbreviation for the Italian “Denominazione di Origine Controllata.” This name on a label means the wine was grown and produced within a certain limited area in a regulated way (specific grape varieties used, growing method, winemaking method, aging, etc.). Various regulations and standards for each Italian D.O.C. are determined by producers within that zone, with oversight from Italy’s national wine committee.


Similar to D.O.C., with the “G” standing for “Garantita” or Guaranteed. This certification is also administered by the local producers, but is even stricter than the D.O.C. Traditionally considered the best of the best, the D.O.C.G. classification is reserved for a small portion of all wines from Italy.


The French word for sweet. Usually refers to the sweetest category of sparkling wines.

Drawing off

see Devatting.

Drip dickey

A wine accessory that slips over the neck of a wine bottle and absorbs any drips that may run down the bottle after pouring - preventing stains to table cloths, counter tops or other surfaces.


Wines with zero or very low levels of residual sugar. The opposite of sweet, except in sparkling wines, where dry means sweet.


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


American English spelling of oenology, the study of wine.

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.

Estate winery

A United States winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site, sometimes known as a Farm winery.


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 champagne or sparkling wine with a small amount of residual sugar (slightly sweet). Not as dry as Brut.

Farm winery

A United States 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.

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.


A clarification process where flocculants, such as bentonite or egg white, are added to the wine to remove suspended solids.


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.


The yeast responsible for the character of dry Sherries.

Fortified wine

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

Free run

Juice obtained from grapes that have not been pressed.


See "crackling".


The main component of the wine, usually grape but other fruits are also used to make wine, such as pear, plum, etc. Often mentioned when the fruit isn't grown in the same site as the winery, such as "the wine is produced here on-site, but the fruit is purchased from a vineyard upstate."

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.


Gewürztraminer is a white wine grape variety from the wine producing region of Alsace in France.

Globalization of wine

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

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 harvesting of green (unripe) grapes in an attempt to increase the yield of quality grapes.


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 metric measure that equals 10,000 m² (2.471 acres).


Term for Rhine wines, usually used in England.


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

Ice wine

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


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


A large bottle holding three litres, the equivalent of four regular wine bottles.

Jug wine

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

Kosher wine

Wine that is produced under the supervision of a rabbi so as to be ritually pure or clean. Although commonly sweet, it need not be so.

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.


You’ve seen them-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 flavor.

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.

Litre (US - Liter)

A metric measure of volume equal to 33.8 fluid ounces (U.S.) or 35.2 fl oz (imperial).


A tasting term for the casual sensory evaluation of a wine.


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


A wine showing Madeira-like flavor, generally evidence of oxidation. Sometimes used to describe white wine that has been kept long past its prime.


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

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 aromas.


French for "fruit skins". See "pomace".

Master of Wine

A qualification (not an academic degree) conferred by The Institute of Masters of Wine, which is located in the United Kingdom.

May wine

A light German wine flavored 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.


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


Originally created in California, these blended wines can be summed up as the "American Bordeaux". The Red blend is made from at least 2 of the 5 Bordeaux varietals: 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.

Méthode Champenoise

(aka Methode Traditionelle, Traditional Method) Process whereby sparkling wines receive a second fermentation in the same bottle that will be sold to a retail buyer. Compare with Charmat, transfer or bulk fermented methods.


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

Micro oxygenation

The controlled exposure of wine to small amounts of oxygen in the attempt to reduce the length of time required for maturation.


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

Mis en bouteille au château

French for "bottled at the winery", usually in Bordeaux.


French term usually used to describe wines of mid level sweetness or liquoreux.


A winemaking abbreviation for "Material Other than Grapes". Usually refers to debris like leaves, dirt and stems that can be unintentionally harvested with the grapes.


The various sensations – thick or thin, round or lean – a wine can create while in the mouth.


See "Lees".

Mulled wine

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


Unfermented grape juice, including pips (seeds), skins and stalks.

Must weight

The level of fermentable sugars in the must and the resultant alcohol content if all the sugar was converted to ethanol.


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

Another name for the Botrytis cinerea mould that can pierce grape skins causing dehydration. The resulting grapes produce a highly prized sweet wine, generally dessert wine.


Many wine lovers prefer to say nose, but what they actually mean is the smell or aroma of the wine. The nose of a wine is best sensed by smell just after you swirl the wine in your glass. Check out How to Taste Wine to learn more about the classical process of wine tasting.

Oak chips

Small pieces of oak wood used in place of oak barrels in fermenting and/or ageing wine.


The science 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.


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.


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.


The legal name for a true Port wines sold in the United States since imitation ports may be labeled as a "port" there .

Potassium sorbate

A wine stabilizer and preservative.


Refers to the alcohol content of a beverage. In the United States, proof represents twice the alcohol content as a percentage of volume. Thus, a 100 proof beverage is 50% alcohol by volume and a 150 proof beverage is 75% alcohol. In the Imperial system, proof, (or 100% proof), equals 57.06% ethanol by volume, or 48.24% by weight. Absolute or pure ethanol is 75.25 over proof, or 175.25 proof.


A wine barrel that holds approximately 84 U.S. gallons (318 litres).


The indentation found in the base of a wine bottle. Punt depth is often thought to be related to wine quality, with better quality wines having a deeper punt.


A designation of better quality German wines. When used in isolation on a wine label, it refers to Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete.

Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA)

A designation of better quality German wines from recognized viticultural areas. It formally represents the second-highest level of German wine.

Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (QmP)

A former designation of the best quality German wines, since 2007 shortened to Prädikatswein.

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.


The process of drawing wine off the sediment, such as lees, after fermentation and moving it into another vessel.


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


See "riddling".


Spanish and Portuguese term for a reserve wine.


A term given to wine to indicate that it is of higher quality than usual.

Residual Sugar

Often referred to as RS, it is a measure of the amount of sugar remaining in the wine after fermentation stops. RS is usually measured in grams of sugar per liter or milliliter of wine, and it indicates how sweet or dry a wine is.

Reverse osmosis

A process used to remove excess water from wine.


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.


Also known as White Riesling in countries outside of Germany. Riesling is 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.

Rosé wines

Pink wines are produced by shortening the contact period of red wine juice with its skins, resulting in a light red color. 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.


The preponderant grape for making the Italian wine known as Chianti.


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


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


French for dry, except in the case of Champagne, where it means semi-sweet.

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.


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 fortified wine that has been subjected to controlled oxidation to produce a distinctive flavor.


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.

Solera system

A process used to systematically blend various vintages of Sherry.


(So-mel-YAY) The French word for wine steward. Many fine restaurants have a Sommelier to assist guests in choosing a wine from the menu.

Sparkling wine

Effervescent wine containing significant levels of carbon dioxide.


German for "late harvest". A Prädikat in Germany and Austria.

Spinning cone column

Used to reduce the amount of alcohol in a wine.


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 for "sparkling". Generally any sparkling wine from Italy, although producers of Franciacorta have recently started stating that Franciacorta is not a "spumante".


A 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.

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 is also used to describe a wine that is considered a good, everyday drinker.


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 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.


An abbreviation for the German wine Trockenbeerenauslese.

T budding

A technique that permits grafting of different grape varieties onto existing rootstocks in a vineyard.


French for "soil", the physical and geographical characteristics of a particular vineyard site that give the resultant wine its unique properties.


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.


The ability of a wine to clearly portray all unique aspects of its flavor--fruit, floral, and mineral notes. The opposite would be a wine where flavors are diffused and thoroughly integrated.


German for "dry".


A German term meaning approximately "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.[11] A Prädikat in Germany and Austria.


A wine cask that holds approximately, two butts, or 252 U.S. gallons.


A wine tasting term used to describe how much a wine expresses the typical characteristics of the varietal.


Also known as headspace, the unfilled space in a wine bottle, barrel, or tank. Derived from the French ouillage, the terms "ullage space" and "on ullage" are sometimes used, and a bottle or barrel not entirely full may be described as "ullaged".


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


The varieties of grape from which the wine was made. You might be familiar with many of these: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Shiraz.


A fortified wine that has been flavored with as many as 40 herbs and spices.

Vertical and horizontal wine tasting

In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery are tasted. This emphasizes differences between various vintages. In a horizontal tasting, the wines are all from the same vintage but are from different wineries. Keeping wine variety or type and wine region the same helps emphasize differences in winery styles.


French for vine grower.


French for wine.


Spanish for vines.


Spanish for vineyard.


A plant on which grapes grow.


A sour-tasting, highly acidic, liquid made from the oxidation of ethanol in wine, cider, beer, fermented fruit juice, or nearly any other liquid containing alcohol.


A place where grape vines are grown for wine making purposes.


Portuguese for wine.

Vinho verde

An effervescent white wine produced in Portugal.


The art and science of making wine. Also called enology (or oenology). Not to be confused with viticulture.


The process of making grape juice into wine.

Vin jaune

French for "yellow wine", a wine fermented and matured under a yeast film that protects it, similar to the flor in Sherry production.


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


The year in which the grapes used to make the wine were harvested.


Someone who makes or sells wine. A wine merchant.


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

Vitis labrusca

A breed of grapes native to North America. See also Foxy.

Vitis vinifera

A breed of grapes native to Europe.

Volatile acidity

The level of acetic acid present within a wine.

Waiter's friend

A popular type of corkscrew used commonly in the hospitality industry.


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

Wine cave

A large cave that is excavated to provide a cool location for storing and aging wine. Similar to wine cellar.

Wine cellar

A cool, dark location in which wine is stored, often for the purpose of ageing.

Wine fault

Undesirable characteristics in wine caused by poor winemaking techniques or storage conditions.

Wine fraud

Any form of dishonesty in the production or distribution of 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 trodding 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.


A microscopic unicellular fungi responsible for the conversion of sugars in must to alcohol. This process is known as alcoholic fermentation.


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


The science of fermentation.