Glossary of Terms

Golassary of Terms:




Italian. Semidry. Also arnahlle.


Spanish. Semidry.

Formed during the final stage of fermentation, this aldehyde is present in most wines, but not normally detectable. At higher concentrations it is recognizable as a Sherry-like aroma. ACETIC ACID Colorless, volatile acid found in all wines, formed by the action of acetobacter on alcohol. Normally present in small quantities; if there is excessive development of it, the wine becomes overly vinegary. Key ingredient of vinegar.


One of many airborne, aerobic microorganisms that can become active during fermentation. If left unchecked, the ace­tobacter will create high levels of acetic acid, giving the wine an excessively vinegary aroma and flavor.


The addition of acid to wine, during or after fer­mentation, to adjust or improve balance and flavor. Illegal in some regions or under certain conditions.


 Having a quality of tartness or sharpness to the taste due to the presence of acids. Moderate to high levels of acidity activate the salivary glands, which helps to prolong the flavor experience of the wine and to keep the mouth feeling fresh.

ACIDITY Contributes flavor and freshness to wine when it is in proper balance, and contributes to its controlled aging. The princi­pal acids found in wine are tartaric, citric, malic, and lactic acids. 

Spanish. A branch of a growing, ungrafted vine is placed in the earth, thereby starting a new ungrafted vine. When the root system of the new vine has developed, the new plant is sev­ered from the old. This technique is possible only in phylloxera-free areas, such as Chile and South Australia, where it is unnecessary to graft vines to American rootstock.


Collective name for a group of materials added to wine to improve or preserve it. Some additives are colors, flavors, acids, oak chips, vitamins, minerals, yeast, and bacterial inhibitors.


Portuguese. A winery.


Treating wine with unauthorized or prohibited ingredients, or excessive levels of a permitted substance.


Allowing a wine to come into contact with air by decant­ing from the bottle into a decanter or by swirling wine already present in a glass. Allows the release of aromas and flavors for greater enjoyment of the wine.


 Fermentation conducted in the presence of oxygen.


Tastes, flavors, and textural sensations that remain on the palate after wine is tasted.


 Keeping wines for an extended period of time in casks, barrels, or bottles, letting natural processes affect the taste and structure of the wine. The process of allowing a wine to mature and develop in either a barrel or a bottle over time to develop character and palata­bility.

American Oak

Oak derived from American Forests used to barrel-age wines. Usually connotated with more aggressive wood flavors than their French oak cousins. 

American Viticultural Area (AVA)

The classification term given within the United States which officially designates a winegrape growing region. AVAs are defined officially by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) based on geographic, climatic and historical criteria. Regions and winemakers may petition to the BATF for an AVA designation.  AVA designations are only given if an area can reasonably demonstrate that its geographic and climatic conditions are significantly different than the surrounding area's.