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Diccionario de vinos

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Acescence is the process of acetic acid causing a vinegar odour in the wine (piqûre or sting). This can come about by adding too much sulphur, by over oxidation, and by poor cellar hygiene. It is a serious wine fault.


Acidity is a common factor when describing a wine. It makes the mouth water and can tingle on the tongue. Acids are present naturally in the grapes and include well known acids such as tartaric and malic which account for 90% of the acids in grapes, but also more obscure organic and amino ones. Citric acid is also often present. 

Aerobic means the presence of oxygen.

Alcohol comes from fermenting the grape. Its chemical formula is C2H6O. A lot of alcohol makes a drink feel heavy in the mouth, little alcohol and a drink feels thin. In unfortified wines low alcohol is less than 11%, medium is 11 to 13.5% and high is anything above this.

Alios is a sandy soil type hardened by iron.

Alluvial or Alluvium is a soil type commonly found around wine regions. It is formed of loose fine silt and clay, sometimes with larger particles of sand and gravel, that has been eroded and reshaped by water then redeposited in a non-marine setting. It is rich in minerals and nutrients.

Amabile describes an Italian semi sweet wine. It means kindly/friendly/amicable in Italian, and one could describe a soft and pleasant piece of music as amabile. Gently sweet wine might be a good translation in a wine context.

Ampelography is the botanical study of vine identification, either through genetics or via comparing the shape and colour of leaves and grapes.

Amphora, amphorae or amphoras are large vessels, usually made of clay, that contain the wine during fermentation and sometimes maturation, particularly historically. There is a greater oxygen exchange than occurs in concrete, steel, or oak, thus the wine tends to be softer and more mellow. This greater exchange also means more wine is lost to evaporation (the angel's share), and thus they need to be regularly monitored and topped up to avoid over oxidation occurring due to the void space. They are becoming increasingly trendy, especially in Biodynamique circles.

Anaerobic means the absence of free oxygen.

Angels’ share is the volume of wine lost during maturation due to evaporation through the breathing of the wood or terracotta. This evaporation slightly concentrates the alcohol content and the degree of evaporation depends on vessel porosity.

Anosmia is the partial or complete loss of the sense of smell. This loss may be temporary or permanent.

Anthocyanins are water soluble flavonoid pigments found in grapes and vine leaves, one of the most important groups of phenolic metabolites in red wines. They control the colour of red wines and inhibit oxidation (they are antioxidants, deemed good for human health) and can discolour leaves, usually red or purple. 

Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) are the way wine regions are formally divided in France by the Institut national de l'origine et de la qualité (INAO) who also do the same for cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products. An AOC is representative of a regional terroir. There is currently 361 AOC regions.

Aqueous means water based or relating to water.

Archimedes' screw is a type of pumping machine used for transferring liquid from a low lying body of water into higher areas by turning a broad threaded screw inside a pipe.

Aroma is a smell within a wine, especially young wine. Most wines have many aromas, the hypercorrect plural of aromas is aromata. A bouquet on the other hand is when there is a mix of complex aromas in aged wines.

Assemblage refers to the collection of grape varieties (or cépages) used in a particular blend of wine. So for example if a wine is made from a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot, this is the assemblage for that wine.

Astringent is a term used to describe a wine that is hard and sharp due to unripe tannins. It is usually a negativer term.

Aÿ One of the best wine producing villages in the Champagne region.


Balance in wine usually refers to the harmony of a wine on the palette. If all the various aspects such as tannins, sweetness, alcohol, body, finish and acidity fit together in a harmonious way that makes the wine sing in your mouth, then the wine is in balance. If one element stands out too much, even if it is a positive element, it can bring the wine out of overall balance. The same can be said for lacking elements. The Goldilocks. The tight rope walk of flavours. Balance.

Barrique is the French word for barrel. They are nearly always made of oak (chêne) and are traditionally around 200 litres. They are usually toasted inside before use with winemaking.

Bâtonage is when the lees are intentionally stirred up, usually at regular intervals with a metal rod, in order to add extra flavour to the wine.

Bentonite is an absorbent clay, mostly composed of montmorillonite, that swells up when wet. It is an ingredient sometimes used in the fining of wine.

Biochemical are chemical processes and substances which occur within living organisms.

Biodynamique or biodynamic wine making philosophy that follows a mixture of proven organic techniques such as not using industrial crop chemicals with pseudo-scientific beliefs such as the alignment of planets dictating planting and drinking days. It has become very popular in recent years and blends spiritualism, mysticism and astrology into the wine making process. Founded by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925).

Blanc de Blancs is a sparkling white wine made from only white grapes.

Blanc de Noirs is a sparkling white wine made from only red grapes, the skins removed from the process immediately after pressing therefore keeping the wine white.

Blind tasting is simply a wine tasting during which the identity labels of the wine are hidden. It is a useful way to test a wine student's familiarity with wines; or a way for wine competition judges to make an impartial assessment. 

Bloom is the waxy surface on the outer grape skin. The bloom contains much natural yeast which then aids the fermentation process producing alcohol.

Blush is a type of wine made from red wine grapes that have been removed at some point in the fermentation process, leaving the wine pinkish.

Body in wine refers to the feel of weight in the mouth.

Bordeaux is a city and major wine region in France, and a type of wine from that region. Bordeaux wine is full of red and black fruits, mineral and earthy, usually with quite high tannins. The name stems from the Latin name Burdigala, which probably itself comes from the Basque language in which burd means swamp and gala is shelter. Bordeaux would have been very swampy in Roman times! It has through various times been called Bordiaus, Bordèu, and Bordale. 

Botrytis cinerea is a genus of anamorphic fungi in the family Sclerotiniaceae, containing about 30 species. It is sometimes called noble rot or grey mould. The rot is used intentionally on some wines to make them sweeter by allowing it to consume the water in grapes and thus increase their sugar and acidity. Sauternes is an example of wine using this technique, and such wines usually have to be near mist or water sources such as streams or rivers.

Bouquet is when there is a mix of complex aromas in aged wines, and should not be used to describe flowery or fruity smells which should be described as floral or fruity aromas.

Bourgogne is a historic region in east central France. It is renowned for its wines. Varieties include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chablis and Beaujolais. English speakers sometimes call the region Burgundy, but this website uses Bourgogne throughout. 

Brettanomyce often called Brett, or Dekkera, is a non spore forming yeast that can become a wine fault by producing flavours and smells of barnyard, mouse, and metal. However, in some wines, not many, this is a desired characteristic.

Brix (°Bx) is a quantification in the form of a scale of the amount of sugar in unfermented grapes. The scale usually spans 14 to 28, and when this brix value is multiplied by 0.55 to 0.65 (depending on the yeast and grape type) provides the potential future alcohol content of the wine after fermentation. 1g of sugar potentially creates 0.5g of alcohol. Brix values are often checked in the grapes on the vines near harvest time and can be a major factor in deciding whether to harvest. It is measured using a refractometer or a hydrometer.

Burgundy see Bourgogne.

Brut is a sparkling wine term meaning extremely dry. It was originally used exclusively for Champagne, and thereby also being exclusively for Chardonnay grapes which Champagne is made from, however now the term is used for any sparkling wine that is very dry; although purists may 'correct' you that it is only for Champagne. It can be further split into Extra Brut and Brut Nature (driest).


Cabernet sauvignon is a red wine variety and cépage. Sauvignon most likely derives from the French word sauvage, meaning wild, and thus a native plant. It used to be called Petite Vidure, not to be confused with Petit Verdot. The first instances of recorded cultivation was in Bordeaux. It is full bodied and powerful, with high acidity and tannins which can make it hard and astringent wine if unblended or sipped too young. Blackcurrant, green bell pepper, mint and cedar might all be found in this cépage, with blackcurrant by far the dominant. It is often aged in oak to soften the tannins, and this usually imparts vanilla and spice to the wine. It has a shorter season than many other cépages. 


Carbonation is the process of injecting carbon dioxide into a liquid such as wine and bottling it under pressure. Often used for sparkling wine.

Casein is a protein sometimes added as a clarifier when fining wine. From from Latin caseus "cheese". It reduces the level of phenolic compounds associated with bitterness and browning.

Catalysis is the process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction by adding a substance known as a catalyst. Catalysts are not consumed in the catalyzed reaction but can act repeatedly. Often only very small amounts of catalyst are required.

Cépage does not really translate to English. It refers to the notable biological traits that can be grouped together to define a cépage. This is not the same as a variety, or varietal. Multiple cépages can come under a single variety (for example Serine), or many varieties can be classed as a single cépage (for example Grenache). It becomes further complex as many wines are hybrids of two species. The study of cépages is termed ampelography. Estimates for the number of cépages in the world vary depending on the source from 1000 to 20000, though 6000 seems increasingly likely, only a few of which are widely used commercially.

Chapeau is the French word for hat, and in wine making refers to the layer of grape skins floating on the surface of the grape juice during fermentation.

Chaptalization is the process of adding either extra sugar or extra grape must to the fermentation process. This will result in a higher alcohol content in the wine.

Chardonnay is a green skinned grape variety used in the production of white wine. The variety originated in the Bourgogne wine region of eastern France

Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in the chloroplasts of plants, essential in photosynthesis, allowing plants to absorb energy from light.

Cineole see Eucalyptol.

Closed is used for describing a wine that is undeveloped and/or young, whose flavours are not coming through very well and are somewhat stunted. Sometimes this can be simply that the flavours are overpowered by alcohol, tannin, or acid. If there is hope via storing or aerating then a kinder word is 'tight'.

Confected or confectionery is a word sometimes used to describe wine that is sweet in a way that is not adequately expressed by the term chocolate, or other sweetness descriptors. 

Cordon is one of the long vine arms, usually trained along a wire, called a cordon wire, from which fruiting canes then develop.

Coulure is the failure of grapes to develop after flowering, usually due to cold, wet, overcast or erratic early season high temperature weather conditions. This is sometimes called shatter. It can devastate a vintage.

Creux is a French term directly translating as 'hollow', and is used for a wine lacking structure, usually combined with a short finish, a dullness of fruit, and a lack of mid-palate depth. Definitely not to be confused with cru!


Dekkera see Brettanomyce.

Demeter refers to the international trademark, originating in France, for the certification of biodynamic agriculture, established since 1932. Demeter guarantees the quality of Biodynamic farming methods throughout the entire winemaking domain. For more click here.

Devil's cut is the amount of wine that gets absorbed into the wood during the process of wine making and maturation. As this is absorption and not evaporation, the process does not increase the alcohol content. 

Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects (DGDDI) is an acronym observed on many a French wine bottle. In English it stands for Directorate General of Customs and Indirect Rights, and means the alcohol duty has been paid to the French state. It should not be mistaken as a mark of quality such as the DOCG on Italian wine!

Distillate is a product formed by distillation.

Distillation is the process of separating components of a mixture by utilising the different boiling points of the components and separately condensing them.

Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita (DOCG) is a quality control label found on Italian wines meaning controlled and guaranteed designation of origin; that the product is representative of a regional terroir. The system was introduced in 1963 after the Treaty of Rome and was modelled on the already existing French Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) laws. DOCG is superior to DOC, and is the highest classification in Italy.


Eiswein or icewine is a type of wine where the grapes become frozen on the vine during harvest and pressing. The frozen water in the pulp partly falls away in the processing, leaving the remaining wine enhanced in sugars and acids. Riesling, Vidal, and Cabernet Franc are common grape varieties to use.

Encépagement refers to a how a plot of land is divided between the different grape varieties, or cépages.

Eucalyptol (1,8-cineole) is found in many wines and gives a menthol odor and makes wines feel green and unready. It is found in unripe grapes, fading with maturation. Vine proximity to invasive Artemisia verlotiorum also increases it.


Fining, finer or fines are terms for a substance added to the wine that causes settling and clarification, removing to the base of the vessel particles that make the wine cloudy or negatively affect the aroma or taste. Gelatine, Isinglass, egg white (egg albumen), Casein, skimmed milk, Bentonite, Carbon, and Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVPP) are all common finers. It is the gelatine, milk and eggs that can make wine unsuitable for vegans.

Finish usually refers to how long the taste of the wine lasts for once swallowed. Finish only should be used for positive tastes such as fruit, or anything that makes the wine taste good.

Flor (Spanish for flower) is a type of yeast, originally from Andalucía in southern Spain, but now used widely, especially in sherry production. It can be introduced intentionally or accidentally. Flor thrives in high humidity and cool temperatures and between 14.5% to 16% ABV. Flor anaerobically converts sugar into ethanol during fermentation, and when the sugar is gone it aerobically breaks down acids. It forms a waxy coat on the surface, protecting the wine from further oxidation lowering the acidity and increasing the aldehydes. Overall it can make wines feel fresh, with a bread and biscuit taste.

Fruiting wood refers to one year old canes on a vine that will produce the grapes for that year.


Garnacha see Grenache.

Glyserol​ is a colourless, odourless, polyol compound, found in all wines. It is not quite as sweet as sucrose and the quantity present varies considerably between wine types. An average wine has about 4 to 10% whereas some wines like Sauternes can be up to 20% glyserol! To learn what wine is made from click here.

Grenache is globally the most commonly planted red wine grapevine varietal. It is late ripening producing sweet wine. Grenache is sometimes called Garnacha.


Herbaceous is a descriptive term used when unripe grapes have been used in a wine with positive results. Words such as grassy, bell pepper or asparagus might be used. When the taste is negative the descriptive term is vegetal. 

Hollow see Creux

Horizontal wine tasting is when you taste multiple wines from different producers, or at least different labels, but all from the same vintage. Usually the style and grape varieties stay the same - comparing a bubbly white to a deep red is not quite the point. The idea is to isolate specific variables so as to usefully compare, thereby guess the causes of the differences.


Icewine see Eiswein.

Indication géographique protégée (IGP)

identifies an agricultural product, raw or processed, whose quality, reputation or other characteristics are linked to its geographical origin.

Institut national de l'origine et de la qualité (INAO) is the body that decides the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) in France. It is part of the Ministry of Agriculture and was formed in 1935.

Isinglass is a protein collagen obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish and sometimes used in the fining of wine. It provides greater clarity than using gelatin and affects astringency to a lesser degree.



Lees are dead yeast cells, and any other precipitated matter, that can accumulate at the bottom of a wine barrel. The lees build up once fermentation is finished and the wine has been 'fined' causing it to separate into clear wine and sediment (lees). Wine left in contact with lees (termed on lees or sur lie) can taste of bread and biscuit; Chardonnay, Champagne, and Muscadet, are all examples of this. The bread like flavour can be enhanced if the lees are stirred, a process called bâtonage. Lees are essential in making ripasso.

Length see finish.

Lenticel is a raised pore on the bark of most species of grape vines that allows for gas exchange between the plant interior and the external atmosphere. They are usually absent on the shoots, but present on berries and pedicels. Muscadinia are the only vine species to have them also grow on the shoots. 


Loire is a French department in the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region. Named after the Loire river which crosses it from south to north over more than 100 km. The inhabitants are called Ligériens, derived from the Latin name of the Loire river, the Liger.

La Lutte Raisonée translates as 'the reasoned struggle' and relates to chemically treating vines to the minimum amount to keep pests, rot, and diseases at bay. Biodynamique 'purists' see this as a commercial industrialist stance, but with many vineyards struggling to exist and remain commercially viable, the reasoned struggle is usually the most sensible and pragmatic approach, and it is the one I most favour. Also called Viticulture Raisonée.


Malbec is a red wine vine variety also called Côt, or Noir de Pressac in some parts of Bordeaux, Auxerrois in Alsace and Cahors, and hundreds of other local names throughout France. Sensitive to frost, Malbec needs heat and sunshine. It also requires well irrigated and well drained soils or else it is prone to rot, coulure, and downy mildew. Malbec has body, boasting flavours full of plum and black cherry. It is a thin skinned large, round, purple grape variety with a dark, almost black colour and high in tannins, making it an intense wine.


Malo-lactic fermentation (MLF) sometimes called secondary fermentation takes place after the alcoholic (primary) fermentation has ended. It makes the wine smoother as bacteria transform harsh malic acid into softer lactic acid and carbon dioxide.

Marc is another word for pomace.

Massal selection is taking the very best vine cuttings from a vineyard that predates the age of mass cloning and planting it elsewhere. This is instead of using certified single clones from a commercial nursery. Vineyards using massal selection thus retain a higher vine variation of high quality stock.

Mature or open are both words used to describe that a wine that is ready to drink. In red wine this is often correlated with the presence of visible sediment. It can be a dark art determining when is the right time to open a bottle.


Microclimate is a local set of atmospheric conditions that differ from those in the surrounding areas.

Millésimé is the French word for vintage, the year the grapes were harvested.

Must is unfermented or partially fermented grape juice, from the Latin vinum mustum (young wine). The solid parts such as seeds, skins, flesh and pulp is called the pomace.


Naptha is a word sometimes used to describe a wine that has a hint of petrol, kerosine, diesel or gasoline about it. The aroma or taste comes from the chemical compound called 1, 1, 6, -trimethyl-1,2 dihydronapthalene (TDN), which is a member of the C13-norisoprenoids family. It can be a wine fault or a positive note, depending on the wine in question and the degree of expression, and is commonly noticed in Riesling although is present in both red and white wines. It is increased if the vine has leaves removed after veraison and is exposed to heavy sunshine or midseason shade and can increase during wine aging due to ongoing hydrolysis. It has a sensory threshold of 2ug/L.


Noble rot see Botrytis cinerea.


Oenology is the science and study of wine and winemaking; distinct from viticulture which is the agricultural endeavours of vine growing and of grape harvesting.

Open or mature are both words used to describe that a wine that is ready to drink. In red wine this is often correlated with the presence of visible sediment. It can be a dark art determining when is the right time to open a bottle.


Planting density refers to the number of vines planted, usually expressed as vines per hectare.

Pétillant is when wine is mildly sparkling due to bottling before the malolactic secondary fermentation happens, thus not allowing carbon dioxide created by this to escape. If done accidentally it is a wine fault.

Phantosmia is smelling things that are not there, particularly conspicuous at some wine tastings!

Piqûre see Acescence.

Pomace is the solid parts of the must, such as seeds, skins, flesh and pulp. Also sometimes called marc.

Primary aromas and flavours are those of the grape itself, or formed in the process of alcoholic fermentation early on in the wine making. These might include floral, green fruit, stone fruit, citrus, black fruit, herbaceous, herbs, tropical fruit, red fruit, spice, and other flavours.

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

designates a product in which all production stages are carried out according to recognized know-how in the same geographical area, which gives the product its characteristics.

Pumping over see remontage.

Punching down (the cap) can be done in addition to remontage, when the wine is fermenting in a cuve. Remontage pumps wine from the bottom of a fermenting cuve back into the top, but this cap still leave a 'cap' of must and skins unbroken on the surface. Punching down involves breaking this cap up and pushing the floating material down into the depths in order to aid circulation and homogenise the cuve. The more punching down a wine experiences the deeper the colour and higher the tannin will be, as extraction is increased. It is hard manual work!


Racking is when wine is moved from one vessel to another. This may be done gently to isolate it from settled sediments, or it may be to prolong a complicated maturation process such as in the solera barrel aging system.


Récoltant is a label often observed on French wine caps and means the wine maker vinifies their own grapes, as opposed to a non-récoltant or someone who is called a négociant and buys from many producers and either creates a blend, or simply repackages.

Récolte is the French word for harvest, or sometimes used instead of vintage.

Reduction in wine is not the same as reduction or redox reactions as understood in chemistry. In wine it describes an over abundance of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), most commonly hydrogen sulfide (H2S) but also disulfides, thioesters and mercaptans. These VSCs are formed during fermentation and yeast reactions. They can sometimes produce positive tastes of flint and matchstick to a wine, as is common in Chardonnay. 

Remontage or 'pumping over', removing wine from the bottom of a fermenting cuve tank and pumping it back into the top of the tank, over the fermenting must. The purpose is to release CO2 and increase extraction.

Ripasso or ripassa (Italian for go over again) is when wine is refermented on the lees of Amarone della Valpolicella wine. The process makes the wine sweeter, higher in alcohol, deeper in colour, more complex and fuller bodied. It was a term reserved for Valpolicella wine from Verona, Italy, using Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grape varieties. Ripasso was pioneered by Masi in the 1980s after much copyright wrangling, yet now the same or similar techniques, such as appassimento, are used in many Italian wines. Another similar technique now being used by Masi is double fermentation using raisined grapes instead of Amarone lees.  


Saignée is the process of draining off a portion of young juice from a cuve after only a short time in contact with the skins and seeds. This is for the duel purpose of increasing the intensity and flavour in the remnant portion still in contact with the grapes, and secondly to use the drained off wine to create a pinkish rosé bolder and darker than traditional rosé. Saignée means 'to bleed'.

Société Civile d’Exploitation Agricole (SCEA) is a civil (not commercial) society with an agricultural vocation. There are a great many in France, not just for wine. It is made up of of at least two partners with no minimum or maximum capital limits and contributions can be in kind or in industry are possible. Interestingly a 'partner' can be an adult or a minor. An SCEA is liable for income tax but is not a limited liability company.


Sec is the French word for “dry”. Hence wines can be sec or demi-sec, dry and semi-dry. It also follows that Triple Sec (Curaçao) is triple dry; and the secco in Prosecco means dry.

Secondary aromas and flavours occur post fermentation. They can be caused by yeast, lees, autolysis, flor, and oak. Malolactic conversion can create dairy tastes and smells, and autolysis in sparkling wines creates the bread and biscuit aromas and tastes. Biscuit, pastry, bread, toast, dough, cheese, yogurt, butter, cream, vanilla, cloves, coconut, cedar, charred wood, smoke, chocolate, and coffee are all secondary aromas and flavours.

Shatter see coulure.

Smoke taint is when grapes on the vine during ripening have been exposed to smoke (such as wildfires, bonfires etc.), it can make the wine have a bitter (phenolic) taste tinged with cigarette ash notes. Globally it is an increasing issue.

Solera system is a method of fractional blending and aging certain wine or spirits relying on multiple barrels, usually arranged into a pyramid system. Each tier in the pyramid is called a criadera, the contents of which get older lower down. Periodically (usually annually) the wine is racked from one tier down to another, with one single older barrel being racked up into a younger tier.

Solubility is the degree that a solid (solute) will dissolve into a liquid (solvent) forming a solution. The degree of solubility depends a lot on pressure and temperature.

Sting see Acescence.

Sucrose is a common disaccharide sugar composed of the monosaccharides of glucose and fructose.

Sweetness is a common factor when describing a wine and refers to, unsurprisingly, the sugar content. This is usually natural sugar from the grapes, most commonly glucose and fructose. An average grape weighs 5g and contains about 1g of sugar. Dry, off-dry, medium, sweet are the usual descriptors of sweetness in a wine.


Tannoid or tannin is a highly astringent polyphenolic biomolecule that comes from the grape skins.

In your mouth when drinking wine, tannins feel rough and sometimes even bitter, drying the mouth out and making everything feel a little furry.​ Saint-Émilion wine is famous for its tannin levels, and it is far from being a bad quality in a wine if done right.

Terroir is one of the most ambiguous phrase in the world of wine! The word comes from the Latin terre, meaning land. In essence, it is the sum total of all the environmental factors of a place, including human farming practices and crop behavior. In France, wine terroir is meant to correspond to the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC). 


Tertiary aromas and flavours occur during maturation. Whether maturation involves significant oxidation or not is key. If oxidised, it tends to add aromas and tastes such as coffee and caramel. If relatively unoxidised over a long maturation period, the wine can develop petrol, honey and mushroom aromas and tastes. Red wine can develop mushrooms, forest floor, wet leaves, leather, dried fruits, caramel, and tobacco notes. White wine can develop dried fruit, marmalade, petrol, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, almond, hazelnut, caramel.​ Deliberately oxidised wine​ can develop chocolate, coffee, almond, hazelnut, walnut, caramel.

Toasted or toasting is in reference to the amount of charring inside a wine barrel before use. This can range from a few seconds of burning to produce a light toasting, or a few minutes for a heavy toasting. This practice brings out spice and vanilla notes in the wine via the release of vanillin from the cellulose in the wood. Heavily toasted barrels can impart flavours of coffee and caramel. Toasting also reduces the expression of tannin. 


Varietal is a wine made from a single grape variety, when used in most conversations about wine. It does not mean varietal in the horticultural sense of being a cultivar which is the taxonomic rank below subspecies.

Vegetal is a term used to describe wines whose grapes have been picked before they were ripe, stewed cabbage being an example. It is a negative term and a wine flaw. When unripe notes are positive the term herbaceous is used.

Vertical Shoot Position (VSP) is a common but labour intensive type of trellis system for training the vine growth. It is relatively low cost and provides a neat look to the row. It also allows easy access for machinery and spraying, with potential for high planting densities. It is particularly well suited to cool climates, where thinning and spraying allows for fungal management, combined with a layout that provides significant sunlight to leaf coverage. Managing overabundant vertical and lateral growth in this system can sometimes be an issue, as can controlling fruit exposure. The new vine has two stems as part of a graft union close to the ground (3-5 cm high). In the first year one stem is grown upwards to the first cordon wire, usually about 75 cm high though this varies, then trained horizontally. The next year the other vine is trained up to the cordon wire and then horizontally taken in the opposite direction. These horizontal stems are called cordons, and from them, three to five vertical shoots that produce the grapes will grow, called fruiting wood.

Vertical tasting is a wine tasting of multiple bottles from the same producer, and the same label and name, but using different vintages (millésimés). An example might be a red wine from the Côtes de Bourg by Château La Tuilière and their 'Armoirie' label in the 2015, 2016, and 2017. Rarely do different vintages taste the same. Sometimes a change of agriculture or processing methodology can show in a vertical tasting, or it can express the weather of that year.


Vieilles vignes is a common phrase meaning old vines.

Vin de Paille or straw wine is the warm terroir version of ice wine, albeit older, dating from Roman and Medieval times and some evidence going back 6000 years. It is made using dried grapes (raisins) which concentrates both the alcohol and flavour. It is not made from straw, but the classical method involved laying the grapes on straw mats in the sun to dessiccate. They age well, have an average alcohol content of about 15%, and it is quite sweet.

Viniculture is the study, science, and production of grapes specifically for winemaking, sometimes used interchangeably with viticulture which is the study and production of grapes in general.

Vinification is the process of obtaining wine from grapes. Wine makers, and sometimes wine sellers, are often called vintners.

Vintage is the year the grapes were harvested.

Vintner is a person involved in vinification, the process of turning grapes into wine. It can sometimes also include the sellers of wine.

Viscosity is the resistance to flowing shown by a liquid.

Viticulture is the agricultural endeavours of vine growing and of grape harvesting. Distinct from oenology which is the science and study of wine and winemaking, and less precise than viniculture which is specifically growing and harvesting grapes for wine.

Viticulture Raisonée see La Lutte Raisonée.


Yeast is used during wine fermentation, the most common variety being Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which interestingly was the first single celled, eukaryotic organism to have its entire genome sequenced. Each species comes in two forms, its asexual anamorph state, sometimes called the imperfect state, and its sexual teleomorph state, or perfect state. Thus one species will often carry two names, one for each state, such as Brettanomyces/Dekkera. The most common wild yeast naturally occurring in vineyards is Kloeckera/Hanseniaspora.