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Wine Glossary        -        “an easy to use layman’s guide”

This glossary is a selection of wine related terms which are fun to know but no one should feel it a necessity to know these words in order to enjoy a nice glass of wine.
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racked:Wine that has been moved from one container (barrel, stainless steel tank, carboy) to another. Winemakers rack a wine to eliminate the solid particles that have fallen to the bottom of the container during fermentation and aging. Once the wine is racked the original containers are cleaned and reused.

refractometerrefractometer: Instrument used to determine the sugar level in grapes, some are small enough to take to the vineyard to analyze the sugar level. The reading is in degree brix. The winemaker can convert the brix into potential alcohol. A reading of 20 brix will create a wine around 11% alcohol. A quick way to do the math mentally is to multiply the brix by 0.55. This will give an approximate potential alcohol level.

riddling: also know as remuage is the process of tapping and turning a bottle of sparkling wine downward increasing the angle of the bottle to 90° so that the bottle cap is pointing downward. This process will cause the lees in the botttle to settle in the bottle's neck next to the cap. The process can take several weeks.

Riesling: a white vitis vinifera grape that may have a fruit or mineral taste depending on the area it is grown in, prefers a cooler climate, frequently found in Finger Lakes, New York and Alsace France and Germany.Riesling

Sauvignon Blanc: A white vitis vinifera grape noteably grown in the Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions of France, New Zealand, Chile and California.

sommelier: wine consultant in a restaurant

stave: the oak pieces of wood that are put together and formed to make an oak barrelstave

Syrah: a black grape also called Shiraz in some parts of the world. Popular regions where this vitis vinifera grape grows include the Rhône region of Southeastern France, New Zealand, Australia, California and Washington.

TA (Total Acidity): Is a measure of a wine's total acidity. The range is 0.0% to 1.0%. A desireable result is 0.6% for red wines and a bit higher for white wines. As a wine's TA nears 1.0% the wine becomes sour and too tart for most people. As the TA nears 0.0% the wine will taste flat. Wines with low TA are susceptible to spoilage.

tannins: compounds found in grape seeds and skins that cause the mouth to pucker

terroir: the effect of the combination of soil, weather, and climate on grapes in a given area

thief: instrument used to siphon wine from a barrel for a tastingthief

tierce: one third of a barrel

toast: similiar to how a toaster will cause bread to toast, building a fire inside of a barrel will cause the wood to toast. Just as in bread, the degree of toast is controlled. The image shows the inside of a barrel that was toasted.toast

Traminette: a white French American hybrid grape that is a cross between Joannes Seyve 23.416 and Gewürztraminer. The grape has many characteristics of the Gewürztraminer variety however is can tollerate colder temperatures. Popular in the United States where winters get cold.




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