White Grape Varietals

Below is a list of white grape varietals and many of the regions they can be found:

Albarino: Spain

Assyrtiko: Greece

Chardonnay: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Burgandy, Canada, Chile, Hungary, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, United States

Chenin Blanc: California, Loire Valley (France), South Africa

Furmint: Hungary

Gewurztraminer: Alsace (France), Germany

Gruner Veltliner: Austria

Harsleveli: Hungary

Macabea: Spain

Moschofilero: Greece

Olaszrizling: Hungary

Pinot Blanc: Alsace (France)

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris: Italy/Canada, France, Hungary, United States)

Riesling: Alsace (France), Austria, Canada, United States

Roditis: Greece

Sauvignon Blanc: California, Chile, Graves (France), Loire Valley (France), New Zealand, Sauternes, South Africa

Semillon: Australia, Graves, Sauternes

Szurkebarat: Hungary

Torrontes Riojano: Argentina

Trebbiano: Italy

Verdejo: Spain

Vidal: Canada

Viognier: California, Rhone Valley (France)

Red Grape Varietals

Below is a list of red grape varietals and many of the regions they can be found:

Agiorgitiko: Greece

Barbera: Italy, California

Blaufrankisch: Austria

Cabernet Franc: Bordeaux, Canada, Loire Valley (France)

Cabernet Sauvignon: Argentina, Australia, Bordeaux (France), California, Canada, Chile, Hungary, South Africa, Spain, Washington

Carinena: Spain

Carmenere: Chile

Cinsault: Rhone Valley (France)

Concord: United States

Gamay: Burgandy (France)

Garnacha/Grenache: Spain/France

Kadarka: Hungary

Kekfrankos: Hungary

Malbec: Argentina

Merlot: Argentina, Bordeaux (France), California, Canada, Chile, Hungary, Spain, Washington

Monastrell: Spain

Nebbiolo: Piedmont (Italy)

Petite Syrah: California

Pinot Meunier: Champagne (France)

Pinot Noir: Austria, Burgundy (France), California, Canada, Hungary, New Zealand, Oregon

Portugieser: Hungary

Sangiovese: Tuscany (Italy)

St. Laurent: Austria

Syrah/Shiraz: Argentina, California, Canada, Chile, Rhone Valley (France), South Africa, Spain, Washington/Australia

Tempranillo: Spain, Argentina

Xinomavro: Greece

Zinfandel: California


Wine Vocabulary

There are many words associated with the wine industry that I would like to keep burned in my memory, for many reasons.  I think that they will be fun to use in conversation while working at the winery and provide a good conversation piece. I simply love adding to my vocabulary and challenging myself to find interesting ways to use the words.  Also, there is a good chance many of these will be present on the Level I Sommelier Exam I am taking next week and writing this post will be a good refresher.

Aroma: the smell of the grapes in a wine

Botrytis Cinerea: (noble rot) is special mold that punctures the skin of a grape and allows the water to dissipate, leaving a higher than normal concentrat of sugar and acid

Bouquet: the smell of the wine, influenced by winemaking processes and barrel aging

Brix: the sugar level of the unfermented grape juice

Chaptalization: the addition of sugar to the must before fermentation to increase the alcohol level of the finished wine

Cru: designation in French wines indicating the level of quality

Maceration: the chemical process by which tannin, color and flavor are extracted from the grape skins into the wine. Temperature and alcohol content influence the speed at which maceration occurs.

Must: unfermented grape juice extracted during the crushing process

Nose: term used to describe the bouquet and aroma of wine

Oenology: the science and scientific study of winemaking

Phylloxera: a root louse that kills grapevines

Sulfur Dioxide: a substance used in winemaking and grape growing as a preservative, an antioxidant and also a sterilizing agent

Tannin: a natural compound and preservative that comes from the skins, stems and pits of the grapes and also from the wood barrel in which wine is aged

Terroir: all of the elements that contribute to the distinctive characteristics of a particular vineyard site that include its soil, subsoil, slope, drainage, elevation and climate including exposure to the sun, temperature and precipitation

Vinification: winemaking

Vitis labrusca: a native grape species in America

Vitis vinifera: the grape species that is used in most countries in the world for winemaking

History of Wine: Prohibition


The American wine industry faced a major setback in 1920 when the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibited the manufacturing, sales, transportation, importation, exportation, delivery or possession of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes.  Commonly referred to as Prohibition, continued for thirteen years.  Prohibition nearly destroyed what had become a thriving, national industry.

A few types of liquor were exempt.  Medicinal wines were allowed for sale by pharmacists, if accompanied by a prescription by a doctor. Medicinal wine tonics, otherwise known as fortified wines, were allowed without a prescription. Sacramental wine was also a loophole of Prohibition.

The general public was also allowed to make up to two hundred gallons of fruit juice or cider annually.  This could be made into a concentrate that was perfect for making wine.  Grape concentrate from California was shipped to the East Coast, along with strong recommendations NOT to add sugar or yeast because fermentation would take place.  Of course, this found its way into the hands of bootleggers who did just that, until the government stepped in and stopped the sale of grape juice, preventing illegal wine production.

Although Prohibition came to an end in 1933, the impact would be prevalent for decades.   Wine was no longer drank for its taste, but for the effect.  Americans had lost their interest in quality wine. In 1900, forty different American wineries had won medals at the Paris Exposition.  In 1920, California had more than 700 wineries.  When Prohibition ended, there were only 160 left.  Thousands of acres of grapes were plowed under. Prohibition was devastating to the majority of American wine producers.