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Wine Glossary

Wine reveals its secrets for thousands of years, and it’s still a mystery and a challenge. Learn the most often used terms related to wine and winery, so you’ll discover more about this divinely grape juice with a long, historical tradition that never ceases to amaze.


With a rich history dating back to 6000 BC, wine appeared in the Middle East, somewhere between today’s Georgia and Iran, and then traveled to Europe, in 4500 BC. Since then, wine has inspired mythologies and religion beliefs, being included in some major religion tradition. It has inspired poets and writers since the ancient Greece and Rome – Dionysos was the Greek god of wine (with its Roman equivalent – Bacchus) and its values, qualities and benefits are being celebrated since then.

Most of the world’s vineyards are in Europe, the main land of wine, which classifies wines by region, while the other non-European wines are classified by grape.

There are ten countries all over the world famous for the wine production, and most of them are situated in Europe: Italy, France, Spain, United States, Argentina, China, South Africa, Germany, Chile and Australia. They all have in common terms describing wine attributes, ingredients, grape varieties and viticulture.

Aperitif – the wine drunk as it is, by itself or before a meal, to stimulate one’s appetite
Appellation – a French system based on identifying and labeling wine by its geographical attributes
Ban de Vendage – France’s official start of harvesting season
B.O.B – stands for “Buyer’s own Brand” which means the wine has a private label, perhaps owned by a certain retailer
Breathing – after a wine is opened, a certain time is necessary for the interaction between air and wine, so that the aromas will open up
Decanting – separating the clear liquid from the sediments, so that the wine stays clear
Chateau – nowadays considered a winery, though it generally indicated a winery in Bordeaux, France
Coates Law of Maturity – a wine principle which states that a wine will be at its optimal drinking quality for as long as it took it to reach the point of maturity.
Table wine – an everyday wine which isn’t sparkling or fortified
Dessert wine – is a common expression which stands for many variables: in the United States, it’s a wine containing over 15% alcohol, while in Europe stands for a low alcohol wine
DOC – stands for Denominazione di Origine Controlatta, which means a controlled place name. This designation is regulated by law respecting some criteria: name, grape origin and grape variety
Cellar – the wine cellar is the storage room for wines in barrels or already in bottles, where the wine reaches its optimal quality under a controlled climate.
Cuvée – a blend of different grapes made from a French winemaking recipe; also associated with Champagne
Wine tasting – is a methodology to describe and evaluate a wine, established from more than 6 centuries; it uses specific terms in order to evaluate a wine’s characteristics, flavors and aromas
Wine regions – significant vineyard regions which also inspire the wine’s denomination
Kosher wine - a Jewish term used to describe the pure wine produced under the strict supervision of a rabbi
Oenology – the science that studies wines, winemaking and everything related to it
Reserve – a specific wine term indicating a higher wine quality
Sangria – punch made from mixing red wine with apricot juice, lemon and orange; sugar is also added
Sherry – a distinct flavored wine made from a fortified wine
Sparkling wine – effervescent wine; its name comes from high levels of carbon dioxide which make it sparkly
Chardonnay – an important ingredient in sparkling wines around the world, the Chardonnay is actually a green-skinned grape, inspiring a large variety of wines
Shiraz –a dark-skinned grape used to make red wines, these intense wines having a huge popularity all over the globe
Rosé wine - a delicate pinkish wine made from red-skinned grapes
Vermouth – a fortified wine famous for its intense aroma made from wormwood (hence the name) mixed with aromatic herbs and spices



Tags: wine glossary, wine tasting, wine terms, wine cellar, wine types, sparkling wine, wine reviews, wine red, best wine, chardonnay


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