Wine Terms of the Gods

Do you speak Vino? If you want to truly enjoy the world of wine, you need to be able to communicate in the language of wine. Following are some phrases that can serve as your Rosetta Stone for the world of red and white wines and beyond.

Garrafeira - a Portuguese term for a reserva wine with specific aging requirements. For example, a minimum of three years of aging in oak barrels for red wines.

Vitis labrusca - A breed of grapes native to North America.

Flabby Wine - Wine that is too soft on the palate and dissapointing. A negative remark.

Vegetal - A wine that has aromas and flavors that suggest vegetables. Unless you really like asparagus or broccoli, not generally well looked upon.

Lees - the solids left over from grapes and dead yeast cells at the bottom of the barrel when white wine ferments.

Old World Wine - Refers to wine made in Europe. Can be an insult, compliment or simple statement.

Viticulture - The cultivation of grapes. Not to be confused with viniculture.

Vertical and horizontal wine tasting - In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery are tasted. In a horizontal tasting, the wines are all from the same vintage but are from different wineries.

Decanting - A much misunderstood term. To remove wine from bottle and place in pouring vehicle, the decanter. Purpose is to aaerate the wine or separate from sediment often found in older reds.

New World Wine - Collective phrase used for non-European wines with Australia being noted in particular. Can be an insult, compliment or general statement.

Congrads on the Baby - Statement made to a person who has spilled wine on their shirt at a tasting or winery and doesn't know it. If you have had a baby, you know the reference.

Vintage - The year in which a particular wine's grapes were harvested. When a vintage year is indicated on a label, it signifies that all the grapes used to make the wine in the bottle were harvested in that year.

Varietal - Wines made from a single grape variety.

Wine cave - A large cave that is excavated to provide a cool location for storing and aging wine. Similar to wine cellar.

Sulphur dioxide - A substance used in winemaking as a preservative.

Oenophile - A wine aficionado or connoisseur. If person is annoying, known as a wine snob.

Wine cellar - A cool, dark location in which wine is stored, often for the purpose of ageing.

Terroir - French for soil, the physical and geographical characteristics of a particular vineyard site that give the resultant wine its unique properties.

Sangria - A tart punch made from red wine along with orange, lemon and apricot juice with added sugar.

Vitis vinifera - A breed of grapes native to Europe.

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About The Author, Xavmoldonio
Xav Moldonio writes about all things wine. To learn more about wineries and wine, visit him at This and other unique content 'wine' articles are available with free reprint rights.