Wine Glossary2017-12-07T18:32:40+00:00

Wine Glossary


natural component of winemaking that is perceived in the flavor of wine as a level of tartness.

A highly regarded wine region in eastern France renowned for dry and sweet wines made from Riesling, Gewuerztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and others.

An appellation is a wine’s geographic region of origin.

The smell of a wine. Aroma is often used to denote younger wines while bouquet is typically used for wines that have been aged.

American Viticultural Area. The legally defined and protected geographic region of origin. Restrictions other than geographical boundaries, such as what grapes may be grown, maximum grape yields, alcohol level, and other quality factors may also apply before an appellation name may legally appear on a wine bottle label.  Mountain Vista Winery & Vineyards is based in the Cucamonga Valley AVA.

Wines that are considered robust and intense.

The “feel” of wine in your mouth: light, medium, or full. Some compare it to varieties of milk: skim, whole, or cream.

The Brix scale is a system used to measure the sugar content of grapes and wine, which ultimately determines its alcohol content.

After grapes are initially crushed, the juice and skins are stored in containers for the early stages of fermentation, where they form a solid top, or “cap”, which is “punched”, or pushed and stirred, each day to break the material up and help the fermentation process.

The opposite of wines that are “soft,” crisp describes wines that are clean, and possibly a bit on the tart side.

Both a verb and a noun in winemaking, crush is both the period of time right after harvest when grapes are crushed and the act of crushing the grapes, typically with a machine called a crusher-destemmer. This starts the fermentation process.

French term, meaning vat or tank. On wine labels Cuvée is used to denote wine of a specific blend or batch.

A naturally occurring process by which the action of yeast converts sugar in grape juice into alcohol, and the juice becomes wine.

Wines such as Port to which alcohol has been added.

The free run is juice obtained from grapes that have been crushed and perhaps fermented, but not pressed. This is the purest and generally considered the highest quality juice.

Also known as malo or MLF, it is a secondary fermentation in wines by lactic acid bacteria during which tart tasting malic acid is converted to softer tasting lactic acid.

A term coined in Napa County combining the words Merit and Heritage (pronounced like “heritage”) to denote blended red wines from the region made from at least two of the five Bordeaux grape varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The combination of crushed grapes and skins that ferment together before the skins are pressed and separated from the juice.

The chemistry/science of winemaking. It can be spelled either way, and represents the “E” in college “EVO” (enology & viticulture) programs.

Pierce’s disease is caused by a strain of the bacterium that kills grapevines by clogging their water-conducting vessels (xylem). According to the University of California, the disease destroyed more than 1,000 acres of grapevines in Northern California between 1994 and 2000, causing $30 million in damages. There is currently no known cure for Pierce’s disease, although researchers have developed hybrid grape stock that has shown promise resisting it.

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can significantly reduce crop production. It is controlled through chemical methods, genetic resistance and careful farming methods.

Both a noun and a verb in winemaking, a “press” is a device in which the crushed grapes, including juice and skins, are placed and “pressed” to extract and separate all of the juice from solid matter. The remaining solid matter is known as the “cake”.

The process by which clear wine is removed from the sediment in the bottom of a container.

A term typically given to wine to indicate that it is of higher quality than usual, sometimes with longer aging and higher alcohol levels.

Sulfites are widely used preservatives in winemaking. Sulfites preserve a wine’s freshness, help maintain its color, and are essential for aging wines beyond their first year without deterioration.

A substance found in the skins, stems and seeds of grapes (grape tannins) and imparted by oak barrels (wood tannins), that can be balanced to create structure and texture to red wines.

The year in which a wine’s grapes were harvested.

The year in which a wine’s grapes were harvested.

The agricultural science of grape-growing and vineyard management.

The ‘screw’ in a corkscrew.