Wine Vocabulary – Part 1


This is a series of two articles where we introduce some of the wine most common terms, in a simple way. We hope you enjoy it and learn something new.

Acidity: How tart a wine is (or isn’t). Related descriptors include crisp and bright and the converse: flabby.

Aeration: The act of exposing wine to oxygen to let it “breathe” and mix with air. This is meant to open-up the wine’s aromas.

Appellation: A specific geographic region where a wine comes from.

Blend: When a wine is made from more than one grape variety.

Body: How heavy or full wine feels in the mouth. Wine is often described as light-, medium-, or full-bodied.

Bouquet: This is not related to flowers, this refers to smells that come from aging wines.

Decanting: Pouring wine from the bottle into a decanter, a serving vessel that allows the wine to “breathe.” (The act of decanting the wine also aerates it.)

Earthy: A smell or taste related to the earth, such as soil or forest. Most red wines are described as being either earthy or fruity.

Fermentation: The process where yeast turns grape sugars into alcohol.

Finish: A term used to describe how long a wine’s flavor lingers in your mouth after swallowing. Wine’s can either have a short, medium or long finish.

Fortified: A style of wine where extra alcohol is added in the form of a spirit. While table wines are typically between 10 percent and 14 percent alcohol by volume, fortified wines are typically 15 to 22 percent alcohol by volume. Sherry, madeira, and port are all fortified wines.

Fruity: A commonly used descriptor for wines that have notes of fruit like plums, berries, or other fruits. While white wines can be fruity, this term is more commonly used with reds.

Grippy: A wine with good grip is one that grabs you through the mouth with texture and astringency. It does not describe a taste but rather a tactile sensation imparted by chemical compounds called tannins that are natural to grape skins, seeds, and stems.

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