Wine Definitions, Volume 3

Are you interested in growing your wine knowledge? These flashcards are a fun way to learn about wine. They are also mobile-friendly so you can study away while on the go. 

They make a fun game for a wine tasting event. While you and your friends are enjoying your Demi-muid, you can be learning more about wine. Enjoy!

If you prefer, we also offer these definitions as a list. You will find a link to the non-flashcard version of this article on the right. 


A non-profit organization that promotes and certifies biodynamic farming


A French term for 600-liter capacity oak barrels, typically used in the Rh?ne Valley


french term meaning ?half-dry? used to describe a sweet sparkling wine

Denominacion de Origen

Spanish for \'appellation of origin;\' like the French AOC or Italian DOC.

Denominaci?n de Origen Calificada (D.O.Ca.)

One of Spain?s regulatory classification systems, created in the early 1990s, and the highest given to a wine region. Rioja and Priorat are the only two Spanish wine regions to have earned the D.O.Ca.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata (D.O.C.)

The Italian system for defining wine regions and wine names. In addition, the D.O.C.G. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) covers regions willing to submit their wines to tougher requirements, including tasting approval.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (D.O.C.G.)

The Italian system for defining wine regions and wine names. D.O.C.G. wines are submitted to tougher requirements than those labeled D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), including tasting approval.


Dense wines are filled with high levels of raw material giving the wine concentration. This is positive.


Wines with depth has layers of flavor and concentration making the wine feel deep. This is a good quality.

Dessert Wine

Created for tax purposes, dessert wines are wines high in alcohol ranging from 14% to 24% alcohol. Many riper syles of California Cabernet Sauvignon and classified as dessert wine, due to their high alcohol levels.


Not used in every region, destemming is the removal of the grapes from the stems.


The process of removing shoots that are not fruit bearing.

Deutscher Tafelwein

A wine classification within Germany?s lowest level of wines, Tafelwein; indicates that the grapes were grown in Germany


Refers to a wine that is starting to show signs of age in flavor, aroma or color.


Covers any and all foul, rank, off-putting smells that can occur in a wine, including those caused by bad barrels or corks. A sign of poor winemaking.


The process by which final sediments are removed from traditionally made sparkling wines prior to the adding of the dosage.

Diurnal Temperature Shifts

The difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures, which can affect the speed of ripening and grape quality. Shifts can be considerable; parts of Napa Valley regularly experience a 40-degree difference.


Italian term for


French term for an estate. This is used most in The Rhone Valley and Burgundy.


A sweetened spirit added at the very end to Champagne and other traditionally made sparkling wines. It determines whether a wine is brut, extra dry, dry, or semisweet.

Double Blind

When wines are double tasted double blind, no information of any type is given to the tasters.


A river in Portugal as well as the wine region famous for producing Port wines.


Designates a sweet Champagne or sparkling wine. In Champagne, the scale from driest to sweetest is: Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra-Dry (or Extra-Sec), Dry (or Sec), Demi-Sec and Doux.

Drip dickey

Trademarked name for a cover that slips over the neck of a wine bottle and absorbs any drips that may run down the bottle after pouring, preventing stains to table cloths, counter tops or other surfaces. The generic term is drip cloth.

Drip Irrigation

An irrigation process associated with grapegrowing. Hoses with individual spouts for each vine deliver precise amounts of water, drop by drop. This saves water and allows grapegrowers to carefully control the water vines receive in dry areas


Having no perceptible taste of sugar. Most wine tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent

Dry Farming

Agricultural technique that prohibits irrigation; it is mandatory in some wine regions?and in most of Europe?and strongly encouraged in other drought-susceptible areas, such as California\'s Paso Robles, Sierra Foothills and Santa Barbara County

Drying Out

When a wine is drying out, it is over the hill and losing its fruit.


Wines that are dumb have little to offer. They are closed.

Early Harvest

Denotes a wine made from early-harvested grapes, usually lower than average in alcoholic content or sweetness.


Used to describe both positive and negative attributes in wine. At its best, a pleasant, clean quality that adds complexity to aroma and flavors. The flip side is a funky, barnyardy character that borders on or crosses into dirtiness.

Eau de vie

French term for a grape-derived spirit such as brandy up to a maximum of 96% ABV. Its literal translation is


French term for debudding vines. This is performed early in the growing season as part of yield control and canopy management


French term for sample bottle used most often with barrel samples.


French term for green harvest, or crop thinning. Grape bunches are removed to improve air flow through the canopy, facilitate the ripening of the remaining bunches and reduce the crop yield


German term for noble rot


South African term for noble rot.


Hungarian term for a sweet wine


French term for the removal of the lower leaves from the vines that will allow more sun to hit the grapes directly, which will aid in the ripening of the fruit.


The French term for destemming. Destemming is removing stems prior to pressing and fermenting the grapes and their juice. Stems have a significant amount of coarse and often green tannin undesirable in the finished wine.


The smallest geographical unit in German wine law representing a single vineyard.


German for ice wine, a dessert wine made from frozen grapes.

Elaborado por

Spanish wine label term meaning


Wines with elegance are in balance with soft, refined characteristics and textures. They are never heavy.


French term for the time a wine spends ageing in barrel.

?lev? en f?ts de ch?ne

French phrase that may appear on wine labels to denote that the wine has been aged in oak barrels.

Embotellado por

Spanish wine label term meaning


Similar to hollow; devoid of flavor and interest.

En Primeur

The same term as futures. This is usually only for wines from Bordeaux.


French term for the proportion of grape varieties used in a blend.


is similar to end or finish. It is the sensation of flavors your palate experiences long after you have already enjoyed and swallowed the wine in your glass. The longer the endnote or finish, in most cases, the better the wine.


A scientist involved with winemaking


The science and study of winemaking. Also spelled oenology.


A lover of all things vinous.

Entry-level wine

The wine from a producer\'s portfolio that is the lowest cost for purchase and offers the most basic quality.


The process of removing the grapes from the stems, done either by hand or machine. Known in English as destemming.

Erste Lage

German vineyards that have been classified by the Verband Deutscher Pr?dikats- und Qualit?tsweing?ter (VDP) to be a

Erstes Gew?chs

A dry wine from a


German term for an estate-bottled wine


A property of land which may include vineyards. See also Estate-Bottled

Estate winery

A United States winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site, sometimes known as a farm winery.


A term once used by producers for those wines made from vineyards that they owned and that were contiguous to the winery


The fragrant chemical compounds responsible for the aromas and flavors found in food and wine.


Turkish dessert wine classification for Tokaji made from the free-run juice of individually picked, botrytized asz? berries.

Ethyl Acetate

A sweet, vinegary smell that often accompanies acetic acid. It exists to some extent in all wines and in small doses can be a plus. When it is strong and smells like nail polish, it\'s a defect.


Refers to the extra cost associated with buying wines en primeur that may include the cost of shipping to the importer\'s cellars as well applicable duties and taxes.


Positive term used to denote unique, opulent textures of a special nature that are only found in the best of wines, in select vintages.


Wines that expand their range of flavors and textures especially in the finish.

Extra Brut

A dry Champagne or sparkling wine. In Champagne, the scale from driest to sweetest is: Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra-Dry (or Extra-Sec), Dry (or Sec), Demi-Sec and Doux.

Extra Dry

A sparkling wine that is sweeter than a brut. In Champagne, this is a wine that has received a dosage between 12-17 g/l sugar


This term is most often used for young wines that are fresh, lively and showy.


Wines that are fading are drying out and losing their fruit.

Farm winery

A United States & South Africa winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site.


Wines that are fat are usually concentrated with a lot of round textured flavors. This can be a good quality. However, as you will see, flabby wines are not good.


Italian term for a wine estate


An unregulated German wine term for an off-dry (or halbtrocken) wine


Similar to elegant, but lighter in concentration.


French term for tenant farming. In modern terms, this is similar to a leasing arrangement.


The process by which yeast converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide; turns grape juice into wine.

Fermentazione naturale

An Italian term for a


The straw-covered flask historically associated with Chianti.

Field Blend

Multiple grape varieties planted in the same vineyard that are usually harvested and vinified at the same time.

Fifth Growth

Term for chateau in the 1855 Classification of the Medoc that earned the fifth highest level of classification.

Fighting varietal

A term that originated in California during the mid-1980s to refer to any inexpensive cork-finished varietal wine in a 1.5 liter bottle.


Filtering is the process of removing solid particles by having the wine move through a filter.

Fine wine

The highest category of wine quality, representing only a very small percentage of worldwide production of wine.


Wines with finesse are elegant.


One key to judging a wine\'s quality is finish?a measure of the taste or flavors that linger in the mouth after the wine is tasted. Great wines have rich, long, complex finishes


Fino is the driest classification of Sherry wines. The freshest and palest category of Sherry, finos are protected from oxygenation by a cap of flor yeast while aging in barrel.


Wines that are firm are tannic and structured.

First Growths

Term for the absolute top Bordeaux wines, as defined by the French Government in the official 1855 Classification of Bordeaux wine.


Flabby wines are low in acidity and lie there in your mouth. They are heavy and not fun to taste.


A glass bottle that holds two litres of (usually inexpensive) table wine.


Describes a wine that is dull in flavor and unbalanced due to insufficient acidity. Can also refer to a sparkling wine that has lost its bubbles


odors perceived in the mouth


Fleshy wines are full bodied concentrated and round or opulent textures.


When more than one wine is poured at the same time.


A descriptor for extremely dry white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, whose bouquet is reminiscent of flint struck against steel.


Flor is the Spanish term for a cap of yeast that forms over Sherry wine as it ages in barrel, protecting the wine from oxidation


Red and white wines can be floral. For example Bordeaux wine from Pomerol and Bordeaux wine from Margaux often displays a floral component.


The time of year that the initial floral blossoms form on the grape vine.


Denotes a wine whose alcohol content has been increased by the addition of brandy or neutral spirits.


Forward denotes a young wine that is open or accessible to tasters.


Massive oak vats that are used most often in the Rhone Valley during the ageing process.

Four Square

A British term for a wine that is simple, classic and one dimensional.

Fourth Growth

Term for chateau in the 1855 Classification of the Medoc that earned the fourth highest level of classification.


A term used to describe the unique musky and grapey character of many native American labrusca grape varieties

French Oak

The traditional wood for wine barrels, which supplies vanilla, cedar and sometimes butterscotch flavors. Used for red and white wines. Much more expensive than American oak, new French oak barrels can cost twice as much as new American barrels

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