A

ABV: Alcohol by Volume.

Acidity: Identified as the crisp, sharp character in a wine. The acidity of a balanced dry table wine is in the range of 0.6 percent to 0.75 percent of the wine's volume.

Aeration: This process of a wine absorbing oxygen. It is also called breathing. Decanting or even swirling the wine in a glass are preferred methods. This also allows a wine to release its aromas into the air.

Alcohol: The alcohol developed in the winemaking process is Ethyl alcohol. It is formed by the action of natural or added yeast on the sugar content of grapes during fermentation.

Alcohol by volume: By law, wineries must state the alcohol level of a wine on its label. This is usually expressed as a numerical percentage of the volume. 

American Viticultural Area (AVA): A designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features.

Appellation: Defines the area where a wine's grapes were grown. Regulations vary widely from country to country. In the US, if a wine label identifies a specific appellation (e.g., Alexander Valley) then at least 85 percent of the grapes used to make the wine must have been grown in the specified appellation.

Appellation d'Origine Controlée (AOC): A French term for a denominated, governed wine region. There are a series of rules and regulations that go along with the AOC designation. This includes restrictions on the specific geological area where the grapes are grown and the wine is made, along with the type of allowable grape variety planted in the vineyard. There are also specific, agreed upon production methods, minimum levels of alcohol and maximum levels of yields, vine age and required minimum vineyard planting densities. There are also rules for harvesting and wine making techniques along with restrictions on where the cellars must be located. The AOC designation as been replaced with "Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP)."

Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP): The European Union designation for Appellation d'Origine Controlée wines. (See AOC).

Aroma: Attributes of a wine that are sensed by the nose and include fruit flavors, herbal flavors, earthiness, floral notes and spices. While all these aromas are sensed, they are not actually in the wine.

Astringent: Drying sensation in the mouth caused by high levels of tannin.

B

Balance: A wine is balanced when its elements are harmonious and no single element dominates. The "hard" components—acidity and tannins—balance the "soft" components—sweetness, fruit and alcohol.

Berry: The individual grape from a cluster is called a berry.

Bitter: Describes one of the four basic tastes (along with sour, salty and sweet). Bitterness can be imparted by the use of underripe or green stems during the fermentation and aging processes. 

Blanc: French for white.

Blind Tasting: Tasting and evaluating wines without knowing anything (e.g., vineyard, varietal, vintage) about them.

Body: The impression of weight, fullness or thickness on the palate; usually the result of a combination of alcohol, sugar, dissolved solids (including sugars, phenolics, minerals and acids) and, to a lesser extent, glycerin. Common descriptors include light-bodied, medium-bodied and full-bodied.

Bouquet: The smell that a wine develops after it has been bottled and aged.

Breathing: Allowing a wine to be exposed to oxygen by simply opening the bottle or decanting.

Brett: A spoilage yeast that can cause what are commonly described as barnyard aromas and flavors in a wine. 

Brix: A measurement of the sugar content of grapes indicating the degree of the grapes ripeness (meaning sugar level) at harvest. Most wine grapes are harvested at between 21 and 25 Brix. To get an alcohol conversion level, multiply the stated Brix by 0.55. (Note: Conversion factors can vary from 0.55 to 0.65 depending on the grape type and yeast strain used).

Bung: The plug used to seal a wine barrel.

Bung Hole: The opening in a wine barrel in which the wine enters and exits.

Brut: A general term used to designate a relatively dry-finished Champagne or sparkling wine.  Usually 0-15% sugar.

Buttery: Indicates the smell of melted butter or toasty oak. Also a reference to texture, as in "a rich, buttery Chardonnay."

C

Cap: The grape solids (e.g., skins, stems, seeds) that rise to the top of a tank during fermentation.

Capsule: The foil or plastic the covers the cork and neck of a wine bottle.

Carbonic Maceration: A method of producing light-bodied, fresh and fruity red wines. Instead of crushing the grapes and releasing the juices to be fermented by yeasts, whole grape bunches are placed in a tank and the oxygen is displaced by carbon dioxide. Fermentation starts inside the berry, producing some alcohol as well as fruity aromatics. In practice, the weight of the grapes on the top crushes the grapes on the bottom and the yeasts ferments the juice.

Case: A case of wine in the United States typically contains 12 standard 750ml bottles of wine or 9 liters.

Cave: French word for a co-operative winery.

Chaptalization: The process of adding sugar to fermenting grapes so as to increase the final alcohol level.

Chateau: A French wine estate or farm, typically located in Bordeaux.

Complexity: Refers to the multi-faceted aspects of tasting a wine. These aspects include the wine's richness, flavor intensity, depth, balance and finesse.

Clos:  A French term used to describe a walled vineyard

Cooper: A barrel maker.

Corked: Describes a wine having the off-putting, musty, moldy-newspaper flavor and aroma and dry aftertaste caused by a tainted cork.

Cote: French term for a slope or hillside.

Cru:  Meaning "growth" or "vineyard" in French, this term is often used in quality classifications. In Bordeaux, the highest quality wines are called Premiers Crus and in Burgundy, Grands Crus.

Cuvée (KOO-vay): There are two main uses for the word “cuvée”  in the wine world. When in reference to Champagne, it refers specifically to the first-pressed (and most desired) juice. Otherwise, cuvée typically refers to a particular blend of wine with more than one grape varietal being used.

D

Decanting: A technique that removes sediment from wine before drinking. After allowing the sediment to settle by standing the bottle upright for the day, the wine is poured slowly and carefully into another container, leaving the sediment in the original bottle.

Denominacion de Origen (DO): The Spanish designation for an appellation of orgin.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC): The Italian designation for a controlled wine region.

Destemming: The process of removing the grape berries from the stems once the grapes have been harvested and brought into the winery. The goal is to minimize the amount of astringent tannins that stems can add to wine.

Disgorge: In the making of sparkling wine, this is the process for removing the final sediments prior to adding the dosage.

Dosage: A sweetened spirit added at the end of making a sparkling wine. 

Doux:  Designates a sweet Champagne or sparkling wine. Doux is the sweetest level of Champagne having 50% or greater residual sugar. The scale, from driest to sweetest is: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra-Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux.

Dry: Having no perceptible taste of sugar. Most wine tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.

E

Earthy: Describes wines with aromas or flavors of soil or earth. In small amounts the aromas or flavors can add complexity and be positive characteristics, but become negative as the intensity increases. Frequently associated with Pinot Noir.

Enologist:  A scientist involved with winemaking.

Enology: The science and study of winemaking. Also spelled oenology.

Estate-Bottled: A term once used by producers for those wines made from vineyards that they owned and that were contiguous to the winery "estate." Today it indicates the winery either owns the vineyard or has a long-term lease to purchase the grapes.

Expedition Liqueur: Liqueur d’expédition in Champagne & traditional method sparkling wines is the addition of a sweet liquid, used to determine the final level of sweetness in the finished Champagne or Sparkling wine. (Also see 'Dosage')

Extra Brut: The designation for sparkling wines with the least residual sugar (0-6 gm/liter).

Extra-Dry: A common sparkling wine term not to be taken literally. Most labeled 'Extra Dry' are slightly sweet, with residual sugar of 12-17 gm/liter.

F

Fermentation:  The process by which yeast converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide; turns grape juice into wine.

Fining: A technique for clarifying wine using agents such as bentonite (powdered clay), isinglass (fish bladder), casein (milk protein), gelatin or egg whites, which combine with sediment particles and cause them to settle to the bottom, where they can be easily removed.

Finish: The sensation left in your mouth after you have tasted a wine. The sensation can be short or long, mild or bitter, etc.

Flight: A set of wines that are compared and contrasted with one another. A single flight can include as few as two wines, but three to six wines are common.

Fortified: Denotes a wine whose alcohol content has been increased by the addition of brandy or neutral spirits.

French Oak: The traditional wood for wine barrels, which supplies vanilla, cedar and sometimes butterscotch flavors. Used for red and white wines. Much more expensive than American oak, new French oak barrels can cost twice as much as new American barrels.

Fruit Forward: Fruit forward wines are fruity and jam-packed with primary fruit flavors that prevail over anything else in the wine.

Full-Bodied: A rich, extracted wine with a mouthfilling sensation of weight or mass.

G

Glycerol: An alcohol that is produced during fermentation. In general, higher glycerol levels are considered to improve wine quality.

Grafting: Uniting two plants so they grow as one. Most often used to join phylloxera-resistant rootstock with vitis vinifera buds that will bear fruit.

Gran Reserva: The highest level of Spain’s quality categories, only made in the best vintages. This distinction requires reds to be aged at least five years with a minimum of two years in oak. 

Grand Cru: French, literally "great growth," or the top tier of vineyards and their wines in regions that use the term. In Burgundy, these wines are one step above Premier Cru. 

Grand Cru Classé: French term used to categorize vineyards by quality.

Grand Vin: The premier cuvée made by a winery. Grand vin, or "great wine," is an unregulated term frequently used in Bordeaux to indicate that a wine is the best of multiple wines made at a given winery.

H

Half-Bottle: Contains 375 mL which is half a standard bottle of wine.

Harvest: The process of picking the grapes, whether by hand or machine. Also the time period when the grapes are picked; usually September through October in the northern hemisphere and March through April in the southern hemisphere.

Horizontal Tasting: An evaluation of wines from a single vintage; the wines may highlight producers from a single region or the same grape variety from many regions, among other permutations. 

I

Imperial: A bottle of wine containing 6 liters

Intensity: Intensity relates to appearance and aroma. When evaluating appearance, intensity describes the concentration of color. The more concentrated and opaque a wine's color, the higher its intensity. Common descriptors for color intensity are pale, medium or dark. When evaluating aroma and flavor, the more pronounced or evident the characteristic, the more intense the wine.

J

Jammy: Some wines have such intense fruit flavor they taste like fruit jam. A Zinfandel is an example of a wine that is sometimes jammy.

K

Kosher Wine: Wine made according to Jewish dietary laws and certified by rabbinical authorities. 

L

Lactic Acid: A smooth (not sharp) acid created during malolactic fermentation. This acid is also found in milk.

Late Harvest: On labels, indicates that a wine was made from grapes picked later than normal and at a higher sugar (Brix) level than normal. Usually associated with sweet dessert-style wines.

Lees: Sediment—dead yeast cells, grapeseeds, stems, pulp and tartrates (harmless tartaric acid crystals)—remaining in a barrel or tank during and after fermentation. Immediately following fermentation, wine may be "racked" to remove lees. Or, the wine may be aged for an extended period on the fine lees in what's called "sur lie" aging. Fine lees can enhance an aging wine with added richness, flavor and aroma complexity, and can also bind with excess tannins. 

Legs: The droplets that form and move down the sides of the glass after the wine is swirled. The legs have no correlation to the quality of a wine.  Legs are a product of the fact that alcohol (ethanol) in wine, evaporates more quickly than water (the Marangoni effects). The alcohol crawls up the glass as it evaporates, but since there is a film of water on top, it is pushed up in an arch. Eventually gravity causes the water's surface tension to be broken, allowing the water to run down, in tears.

M

Maceration:  This process, used primarily in making red wine, involves steeping grape skins and solids in wine (must) during fermentation, when alcohol acts as a solvent to extract color, tannins and aroma from the skins (aided by warm temperatures in the 70-90F range, the amount of skin contact and time). Cold maceration (steeping when the must is not heated), takes place before fermentation. Red wines have extended maceration time (7-40 days), Rosé wines get very brief maceration (2-24 hours), and maceration is typically avoided in the production of white wine.  "Orange" wines do involve maceration of white wine grapes to achieve the color.

Magnum: An oversized bottle that holds 1.5 liters or two standard bottles.

Malic Acid: A sharp, tart acid found in grapes as well as in green apples. Less-ripe grapes or grapes grown in cooler climates can contain high levels of malic acid; the resulting wines often contain aromas and flavors reminiscent of green apples. It is converted to smoother lactic acid during malolactic fermentation. 

Malolactic Fermentation (ML): A bacterial fermentation occurring in wines, this natural process converts sharper malic acid (found in green apples) into softer, smoother, creamy lactic acid (found in milk). Total acidity is reduced; the wines become softer, rounder and more complex. In addition, malolactic fermentation stabilizes wines by preventing an undesirable fermentation in the bottle. Often called the secondary fermentation. Frequently associated with big, rich, buttery Chardonnay, malolactic fermentation is prevented when fresher, crisper styles are desired.

Marc: The dry residue of seeds, stalks and skins left behind after grape pressing. 

Marie-Jeanne: A bottle of wine that contains 2.25 liters.

Meritage: (Rhymes with 'Heritage') An invented term, used by California wineries, for Bordeaux-style red and white blended wines. Combines "merit" with "heritage." The term arose out of the need to name wines that didn't meet minimal labeling requirements for varietals (i.e., 75 percent of the named grape variety). For reds, the grapes typically used include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Carmenere and Malbec; for whites, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.

Mouthfeel: The sensation of a wine in your mouth, may it be smoothness, dryness, or rough. These are strongly correlated to the wine's acidity, alcohol level, degree of tannin and residual sugar content.

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

Muselet: The wire cage placed over a Champagne-style cork to keep it in the bottle.

Must: The unfermented juice of grapes extracted by crushing or pressing; grape juice in the cask or vat before it is converted into wine.

N

Négociant: A French term for a wine merchant who buys grapes or wines and sells the final product under their name, not the name of the original grape producer or wine maker. 

Neutral Oak: After an oak barrel has been used two to three times it stops flavoring the wine and is therefore considered 'neutral' oak.

New Oak: Refers to the first time a barrel is used, when it has the greatest impact on wine. With successive uses, the wood imparts fewer flavors and tannins. Flavors associated with new oak include vanilla, cedar, toast and smoke. The wood tannins in newer barrels add firmness to the wine's structure.

New World: The New World is comprised of countries that have started producing wine more recently than the countries of Europe, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and South Africa.

Noble Rot: Noble Rot (botrytis) is a type of fungus that shrivels and decays wine grapes resulting in intensified sweetness levels and added flavor complexity.  It’s actually considered a good thing for some grapes! Wines such as Sauternes from Bordeaux, Tokaji Aszu from Hungary, and Spätlese level German Riesling all are made from Noble Rot grapes.

Nose: The aroma or bouquet of a wine.

Nouveau: A style of light, fruity, youthful red wine bottled and sold as soon as possible. Applies mostly to Beaujolais.

O

Oaky: Describes the aroma or taste quality imparted to a wine by the oak barrels or casks in which it was aged. Can be either positive or negative. The terms toasty, vanilla, dill, cedary and smoky indicate the desirable qualities of oak; charred, burnt, green cedar, lumber and plywood describe its unpleasant side. See also American oak, French oak.

Oenophile: A wine connoisseur or aficionado.

Oenology: A variant of enology.

Old Vine: Some wines come from vines that are 50, 70 or even 100 years of age, which yield small quantities of concentrated fruit, and make a more concentrated and complex wine. Because this is an unregulated term, the wine can come from relatively young vines. 

Old World: The Old World refers to the countries of Europe where winemaking dates back centuries. The Old World was once associated primarily with traditional winemaking techniques, while the New World was known for modern winemaking, though those stereotypes are no longer as accurate.

P

Phenolics: A group of compounds that are part of the same chemical family as tannins. Phenolics impart a pithy citrus or Asian pear skin flavor. Often associated with producing the kind of mouthfeel you get from a tangerine or pink grapefruit.

Piccolo: A small bottle of wine that is just slightly larger than a split.  A piccolo contains 200 mL.

Plonk: A slang term for inexpensive wine.

Pomace: Leftover grape skins, seeds and stems after pressing.

Port: A sweet fortified wine 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.

Press: After fermentation, the mixture of red grape juice, skins, lees and other solids is pressed to separate the juice from the solids. Because extended skin contact is undesirable for white wines, white grapes are pressed before fermentation. 

Press Wine (or Pressing): The juice extracted under pressure after pressing for white wines and after fermentation for reds. Press wine has more flavor and aroma, deeper color and often more tannins than free-run juice. Wineries often blend a portion of press wine back into the main cuvée for added backbone. 

Private Reserve: This description, along with Reserve, once stood for the best wines a winery produced.  But, lacking a legal definition, many wineries use it or related terms (such as Proprietor's Reserve) for otherwise ordinary wines. Depending upon the producer, it may still signify excellent quality.

Punch-Down: Also known as pigéage, the process of breaking up the thick layer of skins, stems and seeds that forms at the surface of fermenting red wine and submerging it during fermentation to extract color, tannins, flavor and aromas from the grape solids.

Punt: The dimple or indentation in the bottom of a bottle, originally meant to strengthen hand-blown glass containers; now mostly for show, except in sparkling wine bottles. Bottles for Champagne and sparkling wines, which must withstand extra pressure, have especially deep punts.

Q

R

Racking: The practice of moving wine from one container to another for aeration or clarification, leaving sediment behind.

Refractometer: A handheld instrument that gauges grapes' ripeness by measuring the ratio of sugar and other solids in the grape juice. Used extensively during harvest by grapegrowers. 

Reserva: A quality classification in Spain. Red reservas must be aged at least three years, with a minimum of one year in oak. 

Reserve: An unregulated term on U.S. wine labels; sometimes indicates the best wine of the lot, sometimes just a marketing term. 

Residual Sugar (RS): Unfermented grape sugar in a finished wine.

Revisit: When wine tasting, one can ask to revisit a wine to try it for a second time.

Riddling: In making sparkling wine, the process of moving the sediment remaining in the bottle from the second fermentation to rest on the cap for easy removal. The bottles are loaded in a horizontal position onto wooden racks called pupitres. At this point, the sediment rests on the side of the bottle. As the bottles are riddled, or given a sharp quarter-turn daily and gradually tilted upside-down, the sediment works its way to the bottle neck. Today, most producers use efficient mechanical riddlers.

Rosé: Rosés, also known as blush wines, range in color from muted salmon-orange to bright pink. These wines are made from red grapes, colored through limited skin contact or, in rare cases, the addition of small quantities of red wine.

S

Saignèe ("San-yay") -- While somewhat similar to maceration, this method of producing rosé wines allows the red wine grapes to be crushed under their own weight and the 'free run' juice is collected.  Since this juice spends little time in contact with the red grape skins, the resulting color is light pink.  Some argue that this is the highest quality rosé because it is the most pure.  Others consider this just a bi-product of red wine production since the remaining grapes and juice go on to become a more highly concentrated red wine.  Regardless, the rosé juice yielded from this process is separated, fermented in stainless steel tanks and kept at cool temperatures to preserve its freshness.

Sediment: As red wines age, color pigments and tannins bond together and fall out of solution, producing a natural sediment. While the sediment is not harmful, it tastes bitter and adversely affects the wine’s mouthfeel. Sediment is most frequently found in older (10-plus years), darker red wines, which typically have more color pigments and tannins, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux and Port.

Sherry: Sherry is a fortified wine. Following fermentation, the wine is fortified with distilled wine spirit, up to the minimum strength of 15.5 percent alcohol. 

Skin Contact: Refers to the process of grape skins steeping in juice or fermenting must to impart color and flavor to the wine.

Solera: The system of blending wines of different ages to create consistency. Also a stack of barrels holding wines of various ages.

Sommelier (sah-mel-YAY): In a restaurant, the server responsible for wine. Often this is a manager who buys wine, organizes the wine list, maintains the cellar and recommends wines to customers.

Spitting: Spitting during a wine tasting is widely accepted in the wine-loving community—it’s not rude to spit in front of other wine lovers, or even in front of the winemaker who made the wine you’re spitting. Most of the time, you’re given a spittoon to use.  Spitting will allow you to taste more wines without feeling the effects of the alcohol.

Split of Wine: A wine bottle that holds approximately 6 oz (187 mL) or one-fourth the equivalent of a typical 750 mL bottle.

Staves: The main pieces of a wine barrel are referred to a staves. Staves are fit together tighly to form a wine barrel so that wine doesn't leak out and too much oxygen doesn't leak in.

Structure: The relationship of different components in wine, such as acid, tannin, alcohol and glycerol. The relationships between these elements together make up a wine’s structure. A wine's structure will also determine how a wine will age. Those with good structure are more likely to age well, while wines lacking in structure are unlikely to improve with age.

Sulfites: Winemakers use sulfur dioxide to clean equipment, kill unwanted organisms on the grapes and protect wines from spoilage. A tiny amount remains in the bottle, and U.S. label laws require a statement to announce its presence. Sulfites also occur naturally during fermentation process. 

Sweet: In wines, this has to do with the amount of residual sugar after fermentation is finished or stopped. A 'Dry' wine has little to no residual sugar, while a 'Doux' sparkling wine will have 50% or greater residual sugar.

T

Tannic: Used to describe a wine high in tannins or with a rough mouthfeel.

Tannin: The mouth-puckering substance--found mostly in red wines--that is derived primarily from grape skins, seeds and stems, but also from oak barrels.  Tannin adds both bitterness and astringency as well as complexity. Wine tannins are most commonly found in red wine, although white wines have tannin from being aged in wooden barrels.

High Tannin Wines: Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Montepulciano, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah

 Low Tannin Wines: Barbera, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Grenache, Merlot

TCA:  A chemical compound (2,4,6-Trichloroanisole) that can give wine a musty, dirty, bitter, chalky character often described as moldy newspapers or damp cardboard. TCA can be formed in many ways; it is usually associated with "corked" bottles, because corks are particularly susceptible to contamination by the compound. 

Terroir: (p. Te-warA term describing the interaction of soil, climate, topography and grape variety in a specific site, imprinting the wine and making each wine from a specific site distinct. Derived from the French word for earth, "terre."

Toasted Barrels: As a barrel is being constructed, but before the heads at either end are added, the cooper (barrel maker) chars the inside edges of the staves. This final treatment imparts aromas of vanilla, spice and smoke to the wood and then the wine. Char levels include light, medium and heavy toast. 

U

Ullage: Refers to the small air space in a wine bottle or barrel. Excessive air in the bottle increases the speed of oxidation. 

Umami: Although there is no direct English translation, umami is essentially the fifth taste. Discovered and noted by Chinese gourmets more than 1,200 years ago, the concept is fairly new to western scientists and gourmets alike. Mushrooms, consommés, long-cooked meats, cured meats, shrimp, dried tomatoes and soy sauce all contain umami. This taste tends to bring out tannins or the oaky character in wines.

V

Varietal: Refers to a wine labeled with a single grape variety. Used predominantly in the United States and Australia, the term "varietal" denotes a wine named after and made from a single grape variety. For example, "The popular varietal is served in many restaurants" and "The herbal aromas of this Sauvignon Blanc are varietally correct." For varietal bottling, a minimum of 75 percent of that wine must be made from the designated grape variety. The term is frequently misused in reference to a grape variety itself. 

Veraison: The onset of grape ripening when the grape berries change color.

Villages: In French wine, this suffix denotes selected communes, or parishes, within an appellation.

Vin: French word for wine.

Vin de France: Wines with the Vin de France designation have labels that include the type of grape variety used to produce the wine and the specific vintage. These wines are permitted to blend grapes from different regions of France. But, other than the country of France, no information is allowed as to where in France the grapes are from. Vin de France wines can be quite good, and also expensive. That is because some wines are forced by the strict French regulations to use the Vin de France classification because they violated appellation law. As an example, they included grapes not allowed in the region, or the vineyard management techniques did not conform to AOC regulations.  This designation was formerly "Vin de Table."

Vin de Pays: Literally 'wine of the country.' In France, this is the classification above Vin de Table. These wines identify a specific region within France but are subject to less restrictive regulations than the Appellation d'Origine Controlée (AOC) wines.  This designation has been re-titled by the European Union as "Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP)."

Vin de Table: Literally 'wine of the table' or table wine. In France, this former designation only required the wine's producer to be identified and the fact that it was from France. These wines were permitted to blend grapes from different regions of France.  Wine sold as Vin de Table do not by law, list grape varietals, vintage, regions, appellations or production techniques on the label. There are no restrictions on the grapes, vineyard management or production techniques.  This designation was replaced with the "Vin de France" designation.

Viniculture: The science or study of grape production for wine and the making of wine.

Vinification: Loosely synonymous with "winemaking," the act of creating wine from grapes, beginning with the crushing of grapes at harvest and ending when the fermented juice is barreled. 

Vinify: The act of Vinification, or creating wine from grapes.

Vintage: Indicates the year in which the grapes were grown. For vintage dated wines made in the United States, 95 percent of a wine must come from grapes that were grown and picked in the stated calendar year. In the southern hemisphere where the grapes may grow in the year preceeding a February through March harvest, the vintage date refers to the year of harvest. Also refers to the time of year in which the harvest takes place.

Vinted By: Largely meaningless phrase that means the winery purchased the wine in bulk from another winery and bottled it.

Vintner: Translates as wine merchant, but generally indicates a wine producer/or winery proprietor.

Viticultural Area: Defines a legal grape-growing area distinguished by geographical features, climate, soil, elevation, history and other definable boundaries. Rules vary widely from region to region, and change often. Just for one example, in the United States, a wine must be 85 percent from grapes grown within the viticultural area to carry the appellation name.

Viticulture:  The cultivation, science and study of grapes.

W

Winemaking: Largely synonymous with "Vinification," winemaking is the process by which harvested grapes are crushed, fermented (and otherwise manipulated through yeast inoculations, temperature control, punch-downs, pump-overs, racking, oak-chip additions, filtering, etc.), aged in barrel, steel tank or other vessel, and finally bottled.

X

Y

Yeast: Micro-organisms that convert sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide in the process known as fermentation. The predominant wine yeast, saccharomyces cerevisiae, is the same micro-organism that ferments beer and makes bread dough rise. Three categories of yeasts are common, including cultured, natural and wild.

Z

Zymology: The science of fermentation.