You know, the other day, checking my wine journal in order to figure out what wine I wanted to pair with my dinner, I stumbled upon my wine notes…and that’s when it hit me!

Remember how I talked to you about wine terminology and how important it is to make a glossary that will help you along your way on becoming a wine expert? Well, I thought, why not make one for you to get started? It will definitely not include the whole wine terminology  there is in the world, but it will surely give you a taste of what and how you are supposed to do it!

And that’s what I did!

Here are the 85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top!

  1. Acidity

    Acidity is actually used when we refer to the balance between the sweet and bitter parts of a wine. It is that feeling of crisp, sour or tartness we get when we taste a wine. The acidity level from higher to lower in a wine range from 2.5pH to 4.5pH.

  2. Aftertaste 

    Aftertaste is the feeling one has in the mouth caused after the wine is no longer in the mouth.

  3. Alcohol

    Alcohol is actually the alcohol content – ethanol in a wine. During the fermentation process, yeast turns the sugars of the grapes into carbon dioxide and alcohol. The alcohol level in the final wine is determined, up to a certain point, by the level of sugar content in the grapes. Alcohol is measured by volume and is expressed in percentage in a wine with the following: ABV, abv or alc/vol.

  4. Aging

    Aging is the process a wine goes through in order to develop more complex and rare flavors and aromas. According to this process, a wine is left in a barrel, container or stainless steel tank to age or is put in bottles which are stored in specific conditions, in cellars to age. Highly tannic wines have the most aging potential.

  5. AOC

    AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée – Controlled Designation of Origin) is the French certification granted for wines, cheeses and other agricultural products that have certain French geographical indications.

  6. Apéritif 

    Apéritif is a drink usually served before meal or drunk on itself.

  7. Appellation

    Appellation is a legal definition under which a wine takes its name. The wine must comply with specific rules regarding the region, the alcohol level, and other quality factors in order for the appellation name to legally appear on its label.

  8. Aroma 

    Aroma is the characteristic scent that refers to a grape variety. Aromas can be divided in primary, secondary and tertiary.85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top

  9. Aromatic 

    Aromatic is used to refer to a wine that has certain aromas, very distinctive and hard to forget.

  10. Bacchus

    Bacchus was the Roman mythology god of wine and agriculture, a copy of the Greek god, Dionysus.

  11. Balance

    Balance is attributed to a wine when all its basic characteristics are in harmony.

  12. Beaujolais 

    Beaujolais are light bodied red wines made primarily of the Gamay grape variety. The name of the wine comes from the wine region Province of Beaujolais in France.

  13. Blend 

    Blend wine is called the wine that comes from more than one grape variety.

  14. Blind Tasting

    Blind Tasting is the process of tasting a trying to access a wine without knowing what it is.

  15. Blush

    Blush is a pink-colored wine that emerges from 2 techniques, either from blending red and white wine or bringing red grape juice and their skin in contact just until they get that rose color.

  16. Body 

    Body is the word we use to describe the “weight” and texture of a certain wine once inside the mouth. It is one of the five basic characteristics along with acidity, alcohol, sweetness and tannins, that we use in order to describe a wine. The rest of these characteristics contribute to the formation of a wine’s body, with alcohol being a primary factor. We can categorize wines into light-bodied, medium-bodied and full-bodied wines.

  17. Bodega

    Bodega means wine cellar in Spanish.

    85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top

  18. Botrytis cinerea

    Botrytis cinerea is a fungus that sucks water out of the grape while certain flavors are imparted to the fruit for the future wine. This fungus develops when drier conditions follow wetter ones and results into distinctive sweet dessert wines.

  19. Bouquet

    Bouquet is the scent of a wine as a whole. Since the word aroma is used to describe the scent of a grape variety, we can use the word bouquet for blends which combine more than one grape varieties. We can even use the expression “bouquet of aromas”.

  20. Brut 

    Brut is a term used for sparkling wines and it means very dry. In fact, when a sparkling wine is attributed with the term “brut”, it means that it is the driest wine of its producer.

  21. Cava

    Cava is the Spanish sparkling wine and the name came from the word Cava that means “cave” or “cellar”. It’s officially called cava in order to be easily distinct from the French “Champagne”. Cava is made in the Traditional Method and it is mostly produced in Catalonia. It can be white, red or rosé and the main grape varieties used for Cava wines are Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel-lo.

  22. Cellar

    Cellar is a place used for storing wines under certain conditions of light, temperature and moisture. Cellars are also used for the purpose of aging.

  23. Chaptalization

    Chaptalization is a process according to which sugar is added to the must in order for a higher alcohol (ethanol) content to be created.

  24. Champagne Method

    Champagne Method is also called Methode Champenoise, Traditional Method, Classic Method or Bottle Fermentation. This method is used in Champagne region in France and, therefore, it is named after it. According to this method, after the first fermentation, the blending and the bottling, a secondary fermentation takes place. This method is a complex one as apart from the special process that happens in the bottles, the aging takes from 15 months to 3 years. During this period, the bottles of wine have to be rotated upside down from time to time, a technique called Riddling. After the aging period has passed, special lees, that were put in the bottles in the first place, are removed, and the last ingredients are added along with the cork. These last actions are called Disgorging and Dosage.

    85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top

  25. Charmat Method 

    Charmat Method is also called Metodo Italiano, Metodo Martinotti or Tank Fermentation. According to this method, the wine goes through a secondary alcoholic fermentation in closed pressurized stainless steel tanks and it is also bottled under pressure in a continuous process. This process is used for sparkling wines.

  26. Claret

    Claret is basically the English name for the Red Bordeaux wine.

  27. Crisp

    Crisp is used to describe a wine that is high in acidity.

  28. Cru

    Cru means “growth” in French and is used to refer to wines of high quality.

  29. Cuvée

    Cuvée comes from the French word “cuve” that means vat or tank and it is used on a wine label as an indication that the wine is of a special specific blend.

  30. Decanting 

    Decanting is the process of pouring wine from one container to another without disturbing the sediment.

  31. Dessert Wine 

    Dessert Wine is the kind of wine that is generally meant to be served with dessert. However, that is not always the case, depending on the region. Dessert wines are sweet wines and they contain a low level of alcohol.

  32. Destemming

    Destemming is a process according to which the stems are parted from the grapes.

  33. Disgorging

    Disgorging is a process where after all the crud of yeast has collected into the neck of the wine bottle, by freezing the neck, the crud freezes as well and it is removed from the bottle.

  34. DOC

    DOC (Denominazione di Origine ControllataControlled Designation of Origin) is a quality assurance label for Italian food and especially wines.

    85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top

  35. DOCG

    DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita – Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) is a quality assurance label for Italian food and wines with further stricter rules than DOC.

  36. Dolce 

    Dolce means sweet in Italian.

  37. Dosage

    Dosage is the process according to which, a mix of wine and sugar are added to the bottle of wine.

  38. Doux 

    Doux means sweet and we use it to refer to a sweet sparkling wine.

  39. Dry

    Dry is the term that is used to describe a wine that contains absolutely no residual sugar.

  40. Early-Harvest 

    Early-Harvest wines are the ones that have been created from grapes that were harvested earlier than usual.

  41. Eiswein

    Eiswein is the word for Ice Wine in German and it is a dessert wine. It is produced from grapes that have been frozen before they are harvested.

  42. Enology 

    Enology or Oenology is the science of studying wine and everything regarding wine.

    85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top

  43. Fermentation

    Fermentation is the process according to which the grape juice is turned into an alcoholic beverage.

  44. Fortification

    Fortification of wine is the addition of a distilled spirit in the wine.

  45. Fortified Wine

    Fortified Wine is a Dessert wine to which a distilled spirit, usually brandy, has been added during the fermentation process.

  46. Frizzante

    Frizzante means semi-sparkling in Italian.

  47. Gas Injection

    Gas Injection is a method according to which Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) is injected and it is used for sparkling wines. It is a not so usual method of production but it is a possible one.

  48. Lees

    Lees refer to deposits of dead or residual yeast and other particles.

  49. Late-Harvest 

    Late-Harvest wines are the ones that have been created from grapes that were harvested earlier than usual.

  50. Maceration 

    Maceration is the process according to which the juice of the grapes comes in contact with the grape skins and takes the color of the grape skins.

  51. Must

    Must is the juice coming out of freshly pressed grapes.

  52. New World Wines 

    New World Wines are the wines produced in the countries out of the traditional winemaking ones of Europe, such as Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, etc.

    85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top

  53. Old World Wines 

    Old World Wines are the wines produced in the old traditional wine countries, the ones that go way back in the winemaking history, such as France, Italy, Spain, etc.

  54. PDO 

    PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) is a classification for wines that was established in 2009 to replace the QWPSR classification and is used in wine labeling within the countries of the European Union.

  55. PGI

    PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) is a classification for wines that was established in 2009 to replace the TW classification and is used in wine labeling within the countries of the European Union.

  56. Perlage

    Perlage is the process of the bubbles that ascend, from the bottom to the surface, in a glass of sparkling wine. The more and longer lasting these bubbles are, the better the wine.

  57. Primary aromas

    Primary aromas are the aromas that come from a young wine that has not yet developed or evolved.

  58. Racking 

    Racking is the process of transferring wine from one barrel to another.

  59. QWPSR 

    QWPSR (Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions or Quality Wines) is a the higher between two classifications of wine quality level within the European Union countries and it has been replaced by the classification PDO as of 2009. The lower one was called “Table Wines” (TW).

  60. Raisin or Straw Wines

    Raisin or Straw Wines are Dessert wines, according to which the grapes are laid out on straw mats to dry in the sun before they are pressed into wine. Basically, they are white sweet wines.

  61. Residual sugar

    Residual sugar is the sugar that remains in wines after the fermentation of the wine, a fact that does not apply to all wines

    85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top

  62. Riddling

    Riddling is the process according to which, the bottles are rotated upside down over a period of time in order for the dead yeast to be collected into the neck of the bottle.

  63. Sauternes

    Sauternes wine is a French sweet wine that comes from the Graves section of Bordeaux. Sauternes wine is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected from Botrytis cinerea, also known as “Noble rot”.

  64. Sec

    Sec is a term for dry wine in French.

  65. Secondary Aromas

    Secondary Aromas are the aromas that are formed in the wine due to the fermentation and maturation or aging in oak barrels.

  66. Secondary Fermentation 

    Secondary Fermentation is another fermentation  taking place after the original one in another type of container than the first one or in a bottle.

  67. Sediment

    Sediment in wine is the material that you may find in the bottom of a wine container (barrel, tank, etc.) or a wine bottle. The sediment is a sign of a good wine that is left for quite some years in the container or bottle, although it is not so usual nowadays since it is wrongly considered to be a fault.

  68. Sommelier

    Sommelier is a trained wine expert that works in a restaurant.

  69. Sparkling Wines

    Sparkling Wines are wines that basically attribute their name to the bubbles we see in them. They are fizzy and they can be white, rosé or even red.

    85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top

  70. Spumante 

    Spumante can be called any sparkling wine in Italian.

  71. Still Wines 

    Still Wines are the non-sparkling wines, the ones that are not fizzy and have not gone through the winemaking processes used for sparkling wines.

  72. Sweetness

    Sweetness in wines refers to the amount of residual sugar that is left in the wine after the process of fermentation. How can you distinguish if a wine has residual sugar? Well, generally, if you eat or drink something sweet, you will get a tingling feeling on the tip of your tongue, this is also the way to determine the sweetness of your wine. Don’t be surprised if you get that feeling while tasting a wine you think it’s 100% dry. There are quite a few stages from sweet to dry and even a wine that feels dry to you, can have a very small amount of residual sugar and therefore, it cannot be characterized as 100% dry.

  73. Table Wines 

    Table Wines are the wines that are not fortified or sparkling, in the United States. Within the countries of the European Union, Table Wine (TW) is the lower classification between two quality level categories and it is translated in the language of each country. It is called “Vin de Table” in France, “Vino de Tavola” in Italy, “Επιτραπέζιος Οίνος” (epitrapezios inos) in Greece, etc. This term has been replaced by the classification PGI as of 2009. The higher classification was called “Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions” (QWPSR).

  74. Tannins 

    Tannins, also called polyphenols, are the ones that are responsible for that feeling of bitterness and dryness in your mouth when you’re drinking some kind of wine. When the wine leaves you with a very dry mouth, we say that this wine is highly tannic, and likewise, when it doesn’t leave you with such a dry mouth, we say that the wine is low in tannins. Tannins exist in the grape skins and in the grape stems and they are the ones that determine the aging potential of a wine.

  75. Terroir 

    Terroir is the whole of all the environmental factors that affect and cause certain characteristics to be formed in the wine. Those factors include climate, soil, geology, etc.

  76. Tertiary aromas 

    Tertiary aromas are the aromas that emerge after the aging process of a wine in a bottle.

  77. Transfer Method

    Transfer Method is a method, where the wines after the first fermentation are transferred to bottles for the secondary fermentation to take place. After the required amount of time in the bottles, the wine is transferred to a larger tank. This method is used for sparkling wines.

  78. Varietal

    Varietal wine is the wine that comes from a single variety of grapes.

  79. Vine

    Vine is generally the word used to refer to a grape vine.

    85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top

  80. Vintage

    Vintage is the process of picking and harvesting the grapes when we refer to winemaking.

  81. Vintage Wine 

    Vintage Wine is a wine made from a grape variety or grape varieties harvested in the same year.

  82. Wine Aeration 

    Wine Aeration is the procedure according to which the wine is exposed and mixed with air.

  83. Wine Connoisseur 

    Wine Connoisseur is a person who knows a lot about wine and has a discriminating taste on wine. Wine Expert is another term that resembles the term Wine Connoisseur.

  84. Wine Tasting

    Wine Tasting is the process of identifying and accessing the characteristics of a wine through your senses.

  85. Yeast 

    Yeast is the component that turns the sugars of the grape juice into carbon dioxide and alcohol (ethanol) during fermentation.

To Wrap It Up…

There are some very specific steps that will help you become a wine expert and one of the most important ones is to learn every wine term you can to begin with. What is of major importance. though, is that you fully understand what they mean and how they are used.

The above 85 wine terms are exactly what you need to see how your wine glossary is supposed to be built. They are a good start for anyone that is into wine, but it is completely on you to enhance it, make it your own and alter it in any way that will make it easier for you to really get them “printed” in your mind. The explanations do not have to be specialized, they just need to be of your style to get to that top of wine experts as easy and quickly as possible.

And since it is obviously a hustle to copy all these 85 wine terms in your glossary, you can download them here for free!

85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top [PDF]

Now, how about that? 😉

85 Wine Terms You Will Need To Get To The Top

So, this is a quite conclusive list of wine terms but since there might be an important one missing, please let me know in the comments below! Enjoy!

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Hello, my name is Anastasia and I will be your host for this blog. I am a dedicated fan of Jane Austen’s writing, I love travelling, dinner with friends and I believe that there is nothing better to accompany those precious moments than a glass of perfect wine.