Glossary

Having trouble understanding some terms or would like to learn more? Below we have provided the definitions of the most frequently asked about words..


Oak, Body & Sweetness


 Oak, Body and Sweetness are the easiest ways to differentiate between different types of wines. Below is a description of what each feature means.


 Oak

Oak is the overall oak flavour within the wine. This can be achieved by adding wood chips during the process or aging the wine in oak barrels.


 Body

The tactile impression of wine in your mouth. Think in terms of light, medium and full or skim milk, whole milk and cream!


 Sweetness

Sweetness can range from dry or bitter to very sugary in taste. This can be adjusted to taste by adding conditioner to the wine during the final process.




 Acidity

Perceived in the taste of the wine as a level of tartness, acidity is a naturally component consisting of mainly tartaric acid, at about 0.5% to 0.7% of the wine by volume.


 Aerate

Exposing the wine to oxygen either through decanting or allowing the wine to "breathe" in an opened bottle or glass. Thought to allow off-odours to dissipate in older wines, and to soften aromas in younger ones.


 Alcohol

The sugar in wine grapes is fermented through the winemaking process into alcohol and is measured as a percentage of volume. In white wines, this ranges between 9% and 14%; in red wines between 11% and 14%.


 Aroma

The smell of a wine. Some people use the term aroma for younger wines; bouquet for those that have been aged.


 Balance

The relationship of the components of the wine including alcohol, residual sugar, acid and tannin. When no one component stands out against the rest, the wine is said to be well-balanced, an indication of quality


 Body

The tactile impression of wine in your mouth. Think in terms of light, medium and full or skim milk, whole milk and cream!


 Bottle-Aging

The winemaker decides how long a wine will age in the bottle before it is released for sale. Many wines are made to be consumed upon release. Finer wines, particularly reds, may require additional bottle aging by the consumer. In the case of Champagne and sparkling wine, bottle aging allows the wine to acquire complexity, depth and fine texture. It is also known as aging "on the yeast" or "en tirage."


 Brix

Scale of measurement of total dissolved compounds in grape juice and approximate concentration of sugars used in the United States as one gauge of ripeness at harvest. One degree Brix is approximately 12-g/l sugar.


 Decant

To transfer wine from the bottle into another container, to aerate or to separate a red wine from its sediment.


 Fermentation

A naturally occurring process by which the action of yeast converts sugar in grape juice into alcohol, and the juice becomes wine.


 Flavour

The aromatic components of wine that define its varietal characteristics as noted in the mouth.


 Maturation

The process by which a wine reaches a point of readiness for bottling. Maturation can continue in the bottle.


 Palate

Referring to the mouth, or how a wine's characteristics manifest themselves in the mouth.


 Racking

The process by which clear wine is removed from the settled sediment or left in the bottom of a container.


 Sediment

Residue in the bottom of a bottle of red wine that forms as the wine ages.


 Tannin

A substance found in the skins, stems, and seeds of grapes (grape tannins) and imparted by oak barrels (wood tannins), that, in balance, can lend structure, texture, and ageability to red wines.


 Taste

The impressions formed by wine in the mouth, perceived as bitter, sweet and sour.


 Texture

How a wine feels in the mouth.


 Vintage

The year in which a wine's grapes were harvested; sometimes referring to the grape harvest itself. Vintage designations are only given to Champagnes whose cuvees (vats) contain wines made from a single year's harvest. As with Port, a Champagne vintage is only declared in a year of exceptional quality.



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