Learn the basics of wine vocabulary and impress your friends with words like "tannins" and "racking." Uncork the Wine Glossary
Appellation: The area where grapes are grown and made into wine. Examples: Bordeaux, Sonoma. In the U. S. an appellation is a state, county or other legal geographic area.
Aroma: Smells that are directly related to the odor of the fresh wine grape.
Blend: Term used to describe wine made by blending (even to a tiny degree) a grape variety with other grape varieties or other vintages.
Brix: A measurement of the sugar content of grapes before they are harvested. Used to estimate the alcohol content of the resulting wine.
Chianti: Name of a specific geographical area between Florence and Siena in the central Italian region of Tuscany.
Fermentation Process: Process of yeast cells converting grape sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Fining: A process of clarifying the wine electromagnetically via the introduction of oppositely charged materials such as egg whites or gelatin.
Hue: A particular variety of a color; shade; tint.
Mouthfeel: Tasting term for the texture of a wine; for example, its smoothness.
Must: Combination of juice, skins and seeds of the grapes.
Nose: Smell of wine, divided into two sub-components: the aroma and the bouquet. Aroma comes from the characteristics of the grape. Bouquet is the complex fragrance developed by the winemaker’s influence during fermentation and aging.
Racking: A method of clarifying a wine that has settled in the tank and pumping out the solids and yeast cells and putting it into a clean barrel. This process also aerates the wine.
Sur Lie Aging: Wine that is left on its natural sediment.
Tannin: Natural preservative found in varying degrees in skin, seeds and stems of grapes. Most prominent in reds, where it creates a dry, mouth-puckering sensation. A result of grape-to-skin/seed/stem contact. Can build structure and improve aging.