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

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