TERM DEFINITION
Acidity: One of the main structural components of wine, acidity adds a refreshing quality and helps to preserve character. Present to some degree in all grapes in the form of tartaric, citric, malic or lactic acid.
Aftertaste: The sensation a wine leaves in the mouth after swallowing (same as finish).
Alcohol: A compound in wine that results from the interaction between yeast and the natural sugar in grapes during fermentation. The percentage of alcohol by volume in a table wine typically ranges from 7-14%.
Appellation: Defines the official geographic origin of a wine.
Aroma: The smell of a wine.
Astringency: An element found mainly in red wine, characterized by a mouth-drying sensation attributable to tannin level.
Balance: The relationship between acid, tannin, alcohol and sugar in a wine. When these elements are in harmony and one does not overpower the others, a wine is said to be "well balanced."
Barrel-Aged: Refers to a wine that undergoes a period of maturation in a wooden barrel following fermentation.
Barrel-Fermented: Refers to a wine that is fermented, partially or fully, in a wooden barrel.
Body: A wine's weight on the palate, typically described as light, medium or full.
Botrytis Cinerea: Also referred to as "noble rot," this beneficial mold draws moisture out of grapes, concentrating sugars and flavors. Affected grapes are often used to make opulent dessert wines.
Bouquet: As a wine matures, its aromas tend to develop more complexity and are referred to as bouquet. Also used to refer to the smell of a wine that has been aged in oak.
Brut: The driest style of Champagne or sparkling wine.
Decant: Refers to the careful transfer of wine from the bottle to another container in order to aerate or to separate the wine from its sediment.
Dry: A descriptor used for a wine that lacks perceptible sweetness.
Enologist: Winemaker. Also oenologist.
Estate-Bottled: Refers to a wine that is bottled by the owner(s) of the vineyard or vineyards in which the grapes were grown.
Fermentation: A natural biological process during which active yeasts transform the sugar in grape juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Finish: The sensation a wine leaves in the mouth after swallowing (same as aftertaste).
Fortified Wine: A wine to which a spirit has been added, either to raise the level of alcohol or to halt fermentation in order to maintain a natural sweetness.
Hectare: A metric measurement that is equal to 2.471 acres.
Late-Harvest Wine: A wine made from extra-ripe grapes picked late in the season, which result in a sweet character in the finished product.
Lees: Sediment from yeast cells, seeds, skins and pulp that fall to the bottom of the container during fermentation. Extended contact between the wine and the lees during fermentation and aging contributes additional flavors, aromas and character to the finished wine.
Length: A term that describes a wine that leaves a sustained impression in the mouth.
Maceration: A period of contact between grape juice and solids during which color, tannin, flavors and aromas are imparted.
Malolactic Fermentation: An optional secondary fermentation during which malic acid is naturally converted into subtler lactic acid. This process typically results in softer red wines and more complex white wines.
Must: The juice of crushed grapes, prior to fermentation.
Non-Vintage: Refers to a wine made by blending the juice of grapes from multiple vintages.
Nose: Refers to the aroma or bouquet of a wine.
Oxidized: Denotes that a wine has become spoiled due to exposure to oxygen.
Off-Dry: Term used to describe a slightly sweet wine.
Phenolics: Chemical compounds in wine that make up elements such as tannins, pigments, flavors and aromas.
Residual Sugar: The percentage of sugar remaining in a wine after fermentation.
Ros?: A pink wine made from red grapes. The juice is allowed only minimal contact with the skins to impart a controlled degree of color, aroma and flavor.
Sommelier: French term for wine steward.
Stainless steel tank: A container used to ferment some wines because of its reliable temperature control, which helps maintain fruitiness and freshness (particularly for white wines).
Phenolics: Chemical compounds in wine that make up elements such as tannins, pigments, flavors and aromas.
Tannin: A substance imparted into red wine from grape skins, seeds and stems, as well as through wood contact. Tannins create a drying or textural sensation in the mouth, and can add structure to wine. Also a key factor in enabling a wine to sustain prolonged aging in bottle.
Terroir: A French term that encompasses the soil, climate and site in which a vineyard is located. Experts believe terroir has a strong influence on the character of the finished wine.
Residual Sugar: The percentage of sugar remaining in a wine after fermentation.
Varietal wine: A wine labeled with the predominant grape used to make the wine; e.g. a wine produced with mainly Merlot is labeled as Merlot.
Viniculture: The science of winemaking.
Vintage: The year in which the grapes for a wine were harvested.

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