What Do All Those Wine Terms Mean?

Wine terms can be confusing. What is Terroir? What is a Sommelier? What is the difference between viticulture and viniculture?

Here is a wine glossary where you can find the answer to obscure wine terms. In this page see terms from A to B, and below you will find links to pages with terms from C all the way to Y.



An unpleasant taste and smell, similar to vinegar, that a wine develops when exposed to air.


a fresh and crisp quality of the wine. Wines with the proper balance of acidity are lively.


In wine regions with warm weather, the winemaker adds acid to the must (see must) before fermentation.


See Acid


Exposing the wine to oxygen in order to soften it. This is done at the time of winemaking, when it is being racked (see racking); or a few minutes before drinking, when poured into a decanter.


See Finish

Age, Aging

Keeping the wine for a period of time so that the various elements of the wine can integrate and soften.


A by-product of the fermentation process. The yeasts in the grape juice or must (see must) convert the natural sugars into alcohol.

Alcohol Level

The percentage of alcohol content, by volume, present in the wine.


a word to describe a tart, crisp flavor in the wine.


The term that describes the placed where the grapes in a particular wine were grown.

Aroma also see bouquet, nose)

Describes the smell of the wine. A wine can bring to mind aroma reminiscent of various elements. I can be said that a wine has aroma of apples and pear; or cherry and fig.


A dry puckery feeling in the mouth, similar to eating walnuts or drinking black tea.


An acronym for American Viticultural Area, which defines a grape growing region.



Defines the relationship of the various elements of a wine to one another. In a balanced wine, no element stands out from the others.

Barrel Fermented

The process of fermenting wine in a small oak barrel, rather than in a tank, or large cask.


A type of clay mixed in the wine in order to clarify it or fine it (see fine). When the bentonite settles, it carries particles suspended in the wine to the bottom of the container.


Combining wine from different lots, or different grape varieties to enhance flavor and balance.


The feeling of weight in the mouth when drinking a glass of wine. This is usually a result of the amount of alcohol in the wine. You may compare this to drinking non-fat milk as opposed to drinking heavy cream.

Bottle Aging

When wine is allowed to rest in the bottle for a certain period of time in order to integrate the elements and enhance the flavor of the wine.


A wine’s scent or aroma.


When a wine’s color comes through as absolutely clear.


A Champagne or sparkling wine term that indicates it is dry to very dry.

Bulk Process (also Charmat method)

A faster and less expensive way of making sparkling wine, where it is placed in pressurized tanks, rather than the bottles, for its secondary fermentation.

Bulk Wine

Wine sold not in a bottle. Wineries sometimes buy bulk wine either to sell under their own label, or to blend.


A term that describes a wine with the aroma and flavor of butter. Chardonnay is often described as “buttery”.

Find More Wine Terms Here

Here find wine terms from C to E

From F to M

From N to R

From S to Y

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