1 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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1855 classification
In 1855 a classification of Bordeaux wines ranked 61 properties as first, second, third, fourth or fifth growth based on the prices that each could command. To this day, the classification remains largely intact.

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A

abboccato ah-bo-CAT-toe
Italian wine label term which describes wines that are medium dry.
Abruzzo ah-BROOT-zoh
Mountainous Italian wine region on Italy's central Adriatic coast. Two principal DOC wines are the white Trebbiano d'Abruzzo and red Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. The region's only DOCG wine is Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane.
acetic ah-SEE-tic
Refers to acetic acid - in wine tasting, acetic acid smells and tastes of vinegar. This is a caused by wine spoilage bacteria or certain unwanted yeasts.
acidity
Acids produced naturally in the grape contribute to the structure and sensory profile of the wine. Too little acidity and the wine tastes flat – too much acidity and the wine will taste tart. Acidity in wine has an effect on our palate, causing our mouth to water.
agave ah-GA-vay
A family of plant species native to Central and North America. In addition to being the raw material for traditional fermented drinks and tequila, agave has been used by Mesoamerican peoples for food, fibre and building materials. Agave tequilana Weber is the species used for tequila production.
aglianico ah-L'YAN-ee-koh
Emerging as one of the most interesting and ageworthy red grape varieties in Italy's south. Aglianico thrives on volcanic soils, and sees its best expression in wines such as Taurasi DOCG (Campania) and Aglianico del Vulture DOCG (Basilicata)
aguardente, aguardente bagaceira (Portugal) ah-gwah-DENG-tche
Portuguese Aguardente is distilled from wine, and is called Aguardente vinica. When it is aged in barrel, it is known as Aguardente velha. Aguardente bagaceira is distilled from the grape pomace remaining from winemaking.
aguardiente (Spain, South and Central America) ah-gwar-DYEN-teh
Originating in Central and South America, Spain, Mexico and The Caribbean; a strong alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation and distillation of agricultural products such as sugar cane or grape pomace.
albariño/alvarinho al-bar-EEN-yoh (al-var-EEN-yoh)
A very aromatic white grape variety indigenous to Spain and Portugal (where it is called alvarinho). In northern Spain’s Galicia region, it produces wines that are light-bodied, fresh and aromatic. In northern Portugal, alvarinho is the mainstay of Vinho Verde.
alcohol
Alcohol is a family of compounds which include ethanol, the type of alcohol we refer to simply as beverage alcohol. Alcohol has been part of human culture for thousands of years, in the form of fermented and later, distilled beverages, and it is a component of wine, beer and spirits. Alcohol’s intoxicating effects have led many countries to establish a strict framework of laws regulating its production, sale and consumption.
ale
A type of beer made using yeast that rises to the top during fermentation (top fermenting). The colour and strength may vary, as there are many different kinds of ales.
alembic ah-LEM-bic
An early still; two vessels, linked by a tube. Low-alcohol liquid is boiled in the first vessel; vapour rises and flows through the tube into the second vessel, where it condenses, thus achieving a higher concentration of alcohol.
aligoté ah-lee-go-TAY
White grape variety makes crisply acidic wines that are often mixed with cassis to make kir. The village of Bouzeron, in Burgundy, has an AOC for wines exclusively from aligoté.
alluvial al-LOO-vee-al
Soils deposited by streams and rivers, typically made up of silt, sand and gravel. Prized for viticulture because of their good drainage and low nutrient levels, which encourage deep root structure.
Alsace AOC al-ZASS (local), al-SASS (international)
Wine region in northeast France noted for dry, aromatic whites.
amabile ah-MA-bee-leh
Italian term that describes wines that are medium sweet.
amaro ah-MAR-oh
A herbal liqueur with a spirit base which uses various herbs, flowers, bark and citrus peels as flavouring; popular as an after-dinner digestif.
Amarone ah-mah-ROW-neh
From Italy's Valpolicella region; full-bodied red wines from blend of local grapes that have been dried prior to vinification. Drying concentrates sugars and acids, leading to wines with greater depth and higher alcohol than basic Valpolicella.
Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG ah-mah-ROW-neh
In Italy's Valpolicella region, a denomination of origin for full-bodied red wines from a blend of local grapes that have been dried prior to vinification. Drying concentrates sugars and acids, leading to wines with higher concentration and alcohol than basic Valpolicella.
Amontillado ah-mon-tee-AH-do
A style of Sherry; mature Fino is re-fortified to prevent the growth of flor, and given additional aging in a solera. Inexpensive Amontillados are a blend of Fino sherry and a sweetening wine such as pedro ximenez.
anbaugebiet ahn-BOW-geh-beet
The wine-growing lands of Germany are divided into 13 regions, or anbaugebiete. These are specific agricultural zones that must appear on the label of quality wines.
añejo (tequila) an-YAY-ho
Añejo is a Spanish word that means "aged" and this term is used in reference to aged spirits, usually tequila or rum. Añejo tequila must be aged for more than 12 months. Aged tequilas are smooth and complex, with agave character mingling with citrus, smoky and briny flavours.
angel's share
The aging of spirits in wooden casks results in loss of volume through evaporation. Depending on the temperature and humidity of the warehouse, the loss can amount to 2% per year. This is known as the angel's share.
ansonica ahn-SOHN-ee-cah
Synonym for the Italian white grape variety inzolia.
aperitif / apéritif ah-pair-ee-TEEF
An alcoholic drink which is taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite. There has been some research which supports this effect, and it has been shown that alcohol may have a short term effect on the perception of hunger.
appassimento ah-pass-ee-MEN-toh
A technique of winemaking using dried or partially dried grapes. This concentrates sugars, acids and flavour components in the grapes, and results in a richer wine. Notable dried grape wines are made throughout Italy, and include Amarone della Valpolicella from Italy's Veneto region, and Moscato Passito from the island of Pantelleria, off the coast of Sicily.
appellation ap-pell-AY-shun
A legally defined geographical location or region of origin for wine grapes and other protected food categories.
Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) ah-pell-la-SYON d'or-ee-ZHEEN con-tro-LAY
France’s appellation of origin system, established in the 1930s to regulate factors such as production areas, vine varieties, yields, alcoholic strength and winemaking techniques. As wine labeling laws continue to evolve under European Union regulations, AOC regions will transition to the Appellation d'Origine Protégée (AOP), though AOC may continue to appear on labels for a number of years.
Appellation d'Origine Protégée (AOP) ah-pell-la-SYON d'or-ee-ZHEEN pro-teh-ZHAY
Appellation d’Origine Protégée took the place of the AOC designation as of August 1, 2009. This change reflects the evolution of wine labelling laws under the European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Practice (CAP) program. AOP will eventually replace AOC on the labels of French wines; this will be phased in over a number of years.
Apulia (Puglia) ah-POO'lyah
A very productive and warm southern Italian wine region known for bulk wine production. Quality wines are emerging from the notable red varieties negroamaro, primitivo, and uva di troia.
aqua vitae ah-kwah VEE-tay
Historic term for alcoholic distillate, typically made by distilling wine or low-alcohol drinks from fermented fruit or grains. Translations of this term include uisge beatha (Gaelic), eau-de-vie (French) and akvavit (Swedish / Danish).
aquavit / akvavit ah-kwah-VEET
A traditional flavoured spirit produced primarily in the Scandinavian countries; caraway and dill are the dominant flavouring herbs.
aroma
A quality perceived through our sense of smell. We tend to use the term aroma to refer to those smells that are pleasing. Specific to wine tasting, aroma describes the primary character of the grape variety, whereas bouquet hints at smells arising from fermentation or maturation.
Asti, Moscato d'Asti DOCG AHS-tee
Asti is a town in northern Italy’s piedmont (piemonte) region that gives its name to two DOCGs for sparkling wines. Both Asti and Moscato d’Asti are light, sweet, fruity sparkling wines made from the moscato bianco (white muscat) grape variety. The two styles differ; Moscato d’Asti is less fizzy, and slightly lower in alcoholic strength than Asti.
Auslese OWS-lee-zuh
German term meaning the selection of perfectly ripened bunches of grapes and one of the distinguishing levels of German and Austrian Qualitätswein (quality wine). Auslesen are usually sweet, however they can be fermented in a dry style.
autoclave AW-toe-cl?ve
An apparatus that uses superheated steam under pressure to either sterilize or cook. Used in Tequila production to extract sugars from an agave plant.
AVA
Acronym for American Viticultural Area; a defined geographical area within the United States and its territories that has been granted AVA status by showing factors (such as climate, geology, soils and physical features) that make the region distinctive for wine-growing.

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B

Baby Duck
Launched in 1971 by Bright’s Wines, it is a sweet, fizzy wine made from hardy native North American grape species (Vitis labrusca). It quickly became Canada’s best-selling wine, with sales of over 8 million bottles in 1973.
baco noir BAH-koh NWAHR
A hardy French hybrid grape variety that although very rare now in France, has gained a dedicated following in Ontario and the eastern United States. Rustic wild berry fruit flavours are set off by smoky notes and lively acidity.
balance (wine)
A wine is said to be balanced when components such as fruit, acidity, tannins, residual sugar and alcohol are in harmony on the palate.
Barbaresco DOCG bar-bah-REHS-coh
One of the pre-eminent red wines from the much heralded nebbiolo, the leading variety in the piedmont (piemonte) region of northwest Italy. Often slightly lighter and more approachable than the celebrated Barolo.
barbera bar-BEH-rah
The secondary red variety (after nebbiolo) of Italy's Piemonte region. Cherry flavours and a pleasing sour edge to the finish. Grown also in California and Australia, with good examples from Argentina as well.
Barbera d'Alba DOC bar-BEH-rah D'AHL-bah
Juicy, lively red from piedmont (piemonte). Crisp, sour cherry character and a great affinity for food. Barbera d'Alba is deeper in colour and has more power than Barbera d'Asti.
Barbera d'Asti DOCG bar-BEH-rah D'AHS-tee
Juicy, lively red from piedmont (piemonte). Crisp, sour cherry character and a great affinity for food. Slightly lighter in colour, and said to have more elegance than Barbera d'Alba; this region has been awarded the DOCG classification.
Bardolino DOC bar-doe-LEE-noh
Easy-drinking red wine from the Veneto in northeast Italy. Grape varieties in this blend include corvina, rondinella and molinara – the same as used in the popular Valpolicella, though Bardolino is made in a lighter style.
Bardolino Superiore DOCG bar-doe-LEE-noh soo-peh-ree-OH-reh
With DOCG status since 2001, the Superiore must have 1% more alcohol than basic Bardolino and is aged for a minimum of one year before release.
Barolo DOCG bah-ROW-loh
Northern Italian red wine of richness and complexity, with high tannins and acidity. Considered the highest expression of the nebbiolo grape variety, grown on favoured hillsides near the town of Alba in piedmont (piemonte).
barrique bar-REEK
The French word for a type of wine barrel that has a capacity of 225 litres. This size of barrel originated in Bordeaux, and has become an unofficial standard for winemaking around the world.
Barsac AOC bar-SAK
Important appellation for sweet wine in Bordeaux, lying across the Ciron River from the larger and better known Sauternes. Wines produced in Barsac are also entitled to use the appellation Sauternes.
Beamsville Bench VQA
One of the Niagara Peninsula’s 10 sub-appellations. It is a narrow sloping plateau that forms a "bench" part way up the face of the Niagara Escarpment. The sloping vineyards on the Bench experience near continuous air circulation, which is a key factor in the health of the vines during humid summer conditions.
Beaujolais AOC BOW-zho-lay
The southernmost wine region in Burgundy, producing primarily light-bodied and fruity red wines from the gamay grape variety. A small amount of white wine, Beaujolais Blanc, is made from the chardonnay variety.
Beaujolais Cru BOW-zho-lay CREW
The highest category of Beaujolais wines, with ten individual appellations named after local villages or vineyard sites. Cru Beaujolais are fuller, deeper in colour, and many show more potential for aging than the young-drinking standard Beaujolais.
Beaujolais Nouveau BOW-zho-lay noo-VOH
The annual tradition of celebrating the new vintage with pitchers of young Beaujolais wines. Winemaker Georges Duboeuf turned this custom into a world phenomenon in the 1960s, with an annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday of November.
Beaujolais-Villages AOC BOW-zho-lay vee-LAZH
Wines labeled Beaujolais-Villages represent an intermediate level of quality, and originate in the northern part of the Beaujolais region, where the terrain is hillier, and the soils are composed of schist and granite.
Beerenauslese beer-en-OWS-lee-zuh
German term meaning "harvest of selected berries" and one of the distinguishing levels of German and Austrian Qualitätswein (quality wine).
bentonite BEN-toe-nite
Bentonite is a mineral clay that is widely used as a fining and filtering agent in winemaking. The clay particles bind with proteins in the wine, causing them to clump together. The larger masses of protein then either fall to the bottom of the tank by gravity, or are filtered out.
bereich bay-RYSH
German word for district, usually drawn along political rather than geographical boundaries.
bianco B'YAN-ko
Italian for "white."
biodynamic
A more rigorous and increasingly popular extension of organic farming principles stemming from the ideas of Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925). Steiner's practices were based on his personal philosophical and spiritual beliefs.
bitter
A beer style that is a British dry ale, usually pale gold in colour, that may or may not be bitter. Generally has a tart, hoppy finish.
Blanc de Blancs blahn-duh-BLAHN
A white wine made exclusively from white grapes. This term is really only significant for sparkling wine production, where it is common to use both red and white varieties.
Blanc de Noirs blanh-duh-NWAHR
A white wine made from red grapes. The grapes are pressed and the juice is run off to be fermented without the skin contact that would normally impart colour. The term is most significant in Champagne production, describing wines made from pinot noir and pinot meunier exclusively.
blanco (tequila) BLAN-ko
Tequila is Mexico’s signature drink, made from the fermented and distilled sap of the blue agave plant. Blanco (Spanish for white) or silver tequilas are not aged, and are ready to bottle immediately after distillation. Silver tequilas are light and fresh, with agave aromas and notes of white pepper.
bloom
The whitish coating on a grape's skin; acts to protect the grape from moisture loss, insect attack and bacterial and fungal infections.
bock BOK
A style of lager beer that is dark and strong with a robust malty character; alcoholic strength is generally high, around 6% alc/vol.
body
A wine tasting term which refers to the weight or density of the wine as perceived on the palate.
Bordeaux AOC bor-DOH
The world’s most prestigious wine region, situated near the Atlantic coast in southwest France. The Bordeaux blend for red wines allows five varieties – cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec and petit verdot. In practical terms it is the first three that are the most important. Sauvignon blanc and sémillon are the main varieties for Bordeaux whites.
botanical
Plant products that are used for their aromas and/or flavours. In the production of flavoured spirits, aromatized wines or liqueurs, botanicals such as herbs, fruits, peels, flowers, seeds and bark are used.
botrytis cinerea bow-TRY-tis sin-air-EE-yah
A fungus that develops on grapes. It can either be the good kind (noble rot) or the bad kind (gray rot), and usually occurs in humid climates. Famous wines that are made from botrytis affected grapes include France’s Sauternes and Germany’s Trockenbeerenauslese.
bottle conditioned (beer)
Refers to a secondary fermentation which takes place in the bottle. A small amount of wort is added to the tank before aging, encouraging a spritzy, fresh character. In German, it is known as kräusening.
bottom fermented
Refers to a style of beer, usually lager, where the type of yeast used sinks to the bottom of the tank during fermentation.
bouquet bo-KAY
Bouquet in the context of wine tasting usually means the smells that are imparted by fermentation and maturation. The primary smells that are associated with the particular grape variety are called aromas.
bourbon BURR-bun
Bourbon is American whiskey which must be made from a minimum of 51% corn, and it must be aged in charred new oak barrels. Products labelled "Straight Bourbon" must be aged for a minimum of two years. Most bourbon produced nowadays uses about 70% corn and is aged for four years or longer.
brachetto brah-KEH-toh
A red grape variety grown in Italy’s piedmont (piemonte) region, and most celebrated in the lightly sparkling red wine Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG. Aromas and flavours of strawberries give this wine its charm.
brettanomyces (brett) bret-tan-oh-MY-sees
A spoilage yeast that can impart off-aromas to wine. In small quantities, the gamy, smoky, sweaty notes of brettanomyces can add complexity to the wine - when these attributes become very pronounced, this is considered to be a wine fault.
brix BRICKS
Brix is a scale for determining the percentage of grape sugars in the must, which can help vintners assess ripeness. Measured by a refractometer or hydrometer, it is a scale used mainly in North America. One degree Brix equals 18 grams of sugar per litre.
Brouilly AOC broo-YEE
Largest of the Crus Beaujolais; fruity and aromatic red from gamay grape variety.
Brunello DOCG broo-NEH-loh
The most renowned wine of the Tuscany region of central Italy, made from a particular clone of sangiovese that was identified near the village of Montalcino. The wines are full-bodied, more deeply coloured than many other Tuscan reds, and possess great aging potential.
brut BROOT
Wine label term for Champagne that has 0-12 g/litre of sugar. This is a fairly wide range, and each major champagne house would have its own house style. In general, Brut Champagne would be harmoniously dry.
bual (boal) BOO-all
Boal (anglicized as bual) is a Portuguese grape variety best known as one of the traditional noble Madeira varieties; also lends its name to one of the Madeira styles - generally medium sweet.
Burgundy , AOC Bourgogne BUR-gun-dee (BOOR-gon-yuh)
Burgundy is one of France’s most important wine regions, with a focus on elegant and complex red wines from pinot noir, and rich, opulent white wines from chardonnay. The sub-region of Beaujolais makes soft, fruity wines from gamay noir.

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C

cabernet franc ca-behr-nay FRAHNK
Parent variety of cabernet sauvignon, though not as highly regarded as its offspring. A common blending partner for cabernet sauvignon, and an important contributor to the Bordeaux blend. Cabernet franc ripens earlier thus this grape finds its way to cooler climates such as northern Italy, New Zealand and Ontario.
cabernet sauvignon ca-behr-nay so-veen-YOHN
Considered by many to be the finest red grape variety, cabernet sauvignon has a distinctive personality, which comes through regardless of region of origin. Firm structure, deep colour and blackcurrant flavour are typical. It is often blended with other grape varieties, contributing power, structure and colour.
calcareous kal-CARE-ee-us
Refers to soils that have a high proportion of calcium carbonate. These sedimentary soils tend to have a high content of limestone or chalk.
Campania cam-PAH'nyah
The southern Italian wine region where mineral rich volcanic soils, from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, foster the growth of the prominent red grape variety aglianico, the basis of Taurasi DOCG, and the white grape greco, the namesake of Greco di Tufo DOCG.
Campbeltown (malt whisky)
Campbeltown is the smallest of the recognized Scottish malt whisky regions. It was once an area of significant production, however production has declined, and only three distilleries are left (Springbank, Glengyle, and Glen Scotia). Campbeltown whiskies have medium to full body, and a lightly peated style.
canaiolo can-eye-OH-loh
Italian grape variety of Tuscany and Umbria, which was once a legally required component of the Chianti blend. Now optional, it is losing favour with many growers. Canaiolo brings some softness and perfume to the leaner and more astringent sangiovese.
cannonau can-on-NOW
Grenache is known as cannonau in Sardinia, one of Italy's island regions.
canopy management
Vineyard practices intended to improve yield, quality and protect against pests and diseases. Simplest techniques include shoot positioning and trimming, leaf removal and pruning. All are designed to give maximum exposure to sun and to allow good air circulation.
carbon dioxide (CO2)
Odourless heavier-than-air gas that is a byproduct of respiration and combustion. In fermentation, yeasts consume sugar and yield heat, alcohol and carbon dioxide as waste products. CO2 is toxic in higher concentrations, making it a safety consideration in wineries and breweries.
carbonation (wine)
Inexpensive sparkling wines can be made by bottling under pressure with carbon dioxide gas. The gas is dissolved into the liquid and is released as bubbles when the stopper is removed.
carbonic maceration car-BON-ick mass-ur-AY-shun
A method of fermentation where whole bunches of uncrushed grapes are fermented in a vessel which is filled with carbon dioxide. This yields wines that in comparison to conventional fermentation are lighter-bodied and lower in tannins, with an emphasis on fruit flavours and aromas.
carignan car-een-YOHN
The widely grown workhorse grape variety of France’s Midi (Languedoc-Roussillon). This variety brings deep colour, tannins and acidity to many blended wines, but rarely appears on its own. In Spain, where it is called mazuelo, it is allowed in Rioja wines, and a small proportion contributes colour and acidity.
carmenère car-men-AIR
A Bordeaux grape variety established in Chile in the mid-nineteenth century, but co-mingled with merlot in the vineyards. It was not clearly recognized as a separate variety until the 1990s, but now shows great promise and is considered to be Chile’s signature red variety.
Castelli Romani DOC cas-TEHL-ee ro-man-ee
A collection of wine-producing towns in the Alban Hills (Colli Albani) just southeast of Rome. Frascati is the most well-known town, famous for its white wines labelled Frascati DOC. The key varieties are malvasia, trebbiano and greco.
catarratto cat-ah-RAT-toh
On the Italian island region of Sicily, catarratto is the most widely planted white grape variety. Once almost exclusively grown for the fortified wine Marsala, it is now increasingly found as a varietal dry wine, or as a blending partner for international varieties such as chardonnay.
Cava DOP KAH-vah
Appellation for Spanish traditional method sparkling wine, made in impressive quantities primarily in the Penedes region of Cataluña from the varieties macabeo, xarello and parellada.
Chablis AOC shah-BLEE
Wine region located on the region of Burgundy, northwest of the Côte d'Or. Chalky limestone soils and the cool climate create wines that are pale, dry, crisp and minerally. In general, Chablis is un-oaked, with fermentation and maturation taking place in stainless steel.
Chambertin AOC shom-behr-TAHN
Grand Cru for red wines in Burgundy's Côte de Nuits sub-region.
chambourcin shahm-boor-SAHN
French hybrid grape variety considered to be one of the most successful hybrids. Its resistance to fungal diseases has made it popular in areas that experience high humidity, such as Australia’s Hunter Valley. It is also grown in Ontario, British Columbia, and the northeast United States.
Champagne AOC shahm-PAN-yuh
France's northernmost wine region produces the world's most prestigious bottle-fermented sparkling wines.
chaptalization chap-tal-eye-ZAY-shun
A process where fermentable sugar is added to the must, before or during fermentation, to increase alcoholic strength; usually allowed in northern climates where grapes do not produce enough sugar naturally to attain desired alcoholic strengths.
chardonnay shar-doe-NAY
The world’s most planted white grape, with the capacity to grow in a wide range of climates, and express a diversity of styles. This versatility, combined with drinkability and an easily pronounced name has made chardonnay into a virtual “brand.” It is grown in almost every wine region of the world. Crisp un-oaked styles are contrasted by the nutty complexity of barrel-aged examples.
Charmat method shar-MAH
Also known as the tank method, this refers to a production method for sparkling wines, where all or part of the secondary fermentation occurs in a sealed tank, thus trapping the CO2 gas which is a byproduct of fermentation.
Chassagne-Montrachet AOC shass-AHN-yuh mohn-rah-SHAY
A commune in Burgundy which has added the name of a famous vineyard to the village name. Chassagne-Montrachet shares two Grand Cru vineyards, Montrachet and Bâtard-Montrachet with the neighbouring village of Puligny-Montrachet. These vineyards produce some of the world's most long-lived and expensive white wines.
chasselas shass-ell-LAH
White grape variety notable for soft, neutral wines made in Switzerland (where it is known as fendant) and the Savoie region of France.
Chateau d'Yqeum AOC shah-TOE dee-KEM
In the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, the lusciously sweet Chateau d'Yquem was classed as First Great Growth, giving this Sauternes the highest standing of all Bordeaux wines. The world's greatest dessert wine, made from botrytis affected sémillon and sauvignon blanc grapes.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC shah-toh-NUF-dew-PAHP
The most well-known of the southern Rhône appellations. Rich and full-bodied wines from a blend of up to 13 allowed varieties, though grenache, syrah and mourvèdre are the most used. A small proportion of white Châteauneuf-du-Pape is made from varieties including grenache blanc, clairette and roussanne.
Chénas AOC shay-NA
Smallest of the Beaujolais Crus; noted for the aging potential of wines from the best vintages.
chenin blanc sheh-NIHN blahn
The leading white grape variety of France’s Loire valley. Crisp acidity and flavours of honey and ripe apples are expressed in a wide range of styles; the wines can be bone-dry or honeyed and sweet. It is popular and widely planted in South Africa, where it is known as steen.
Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG kee-AHN-tee, kee-AHN-tee CLASS-ee-koh
A region in Tuscany located between the cities of Florence, Siena and Pisa. The wines, which originate either in the Classico region, or eight sub-regions, are characterized by tart cherry and plum notes, with medium/high acidity and firm tannins. Quality ranges from everyday wines to riservas that have long aging potential.
chiaretto kyah-REH-toh
A term used for light rosé wines of the Veneto and Lombardia regions; Bardolino Chiaretto is the wine we are most likely to see in North America.
chiavennasca K'YAH-vehn-NAS-kah
In the Lombardy region of Italy, the local name for nebbiolo. The basis of Valtellina Superiore DOCG, and the notable Sforzato style made from partially dried grapes.
Chiroubles AOC shih-ROOB-luh
Cru Beaujolais noted for delicacy and floral aromas.
cinsault sahn-SOH
Red grape variety grown widely in the south of France, where it is valued as much for its high yields as its soft tannins and fruity aromas. Often blended with tougher varieties, like carignan, to soften and provide balance. Notable in South Africa, where it is one of the parents (with pinot noir) of the local specialty variety pinotage.
claret CLAIR-et
A word in use for centuries in the British wine trade to describe red Bordeaux wines. Derived from the French "clairet" - the dark rosé that typified the style of Bordeaux wines up to the 17th century.
Classic (Germany)
A relatively new (2000) category of German wine that is harmoniously dry, and made from one of the classic grape varieties (riesling, silvaner, spätburgunder). Vineyard names have been omitted from the label for clarity.
Classico CLASS-ee-ko
Italian term indicating DOC or DOCG wines that have been produced in the heart of the original historic zone. In most cases, this would represent the best, most favourable sites and soils.
climate
The long term pattern of meteorological factors in a given region. The climate of a region is affected by latitude, terrain and altitude, as well as the influence of nearby bodies of water.
clone
A population of genetically identical vines all derived from cuttings taken from a single parent vine. The aim is to produce uniform, consistent vineyards with the same genetic constitution.
coffey still
Also known as continuous or patent still. A still with two columns, improved and patented in 1831 by Aeneas Coffey. Raw alcoholic material is distilled twice, producing alcohol at a high level of purity. The still can operate continuously, and offers great efficiency over pot stills.
Cognac KAHN-yak
Cognac is an "eau-de-vie" distilled from wine produced in the Cognac region of France. Within Cognac, there are sub-regions that produce cognacs of different style and quality level. The finest and most ageworthy cognacs are produced in the Grande and Petit Champagne.
Colli Albani DOC call-ee al-BAH-nee
A collection of wine-producing towns in the Alban Hills (Colli Albani) just southeast of Rome. Frascati is the most well-known town, famous for its white wines labelled Frascati DOC. The key varieties are malvasia, trebbiano and greco.
column still (patent still, Coffey still)
A still with two columns, improved and patented in 1831 by Aeneas Coffey. Raw alcoholic material is distilled twice, producing alcohol at a high level of purity. The still can operate continuously, and offers great efficiency over pot stills.
commune
In France the commune is the most basic level of administrative division, equivalent to municipalities in North America. France is highly divided, with over 36,000 communes dividing the country and its overseas territories.
concord
Cultivar developed in the nineteenth century in Concord, Massachusetts from native Vitis labrusca vines. Concord grapes are very aromatic, and in addition to wine, they are used for juice and jelly. Important for the production of sweet kosher wines and sacramental wines.
conditioning (beer)
Once a beer has been fermented the next step is conditioning. The beer undergoes a period of maturation, when the beer develops its flavour profile, and it is also carbonated. Carbonation may be achieved by refermentation in cask or bottle, or by adding carbon dioxide gas to the beer in a closed tank.
congener con-GEE-ner
Substances produced during fermentation that are concentrated along with alcohol during distillation. Includes the higher alcohols, also known as fusel oils. In small quantities, responsible for part of the taste and aroma of distilled spirits.
Consejos Reguladores cohn-SAY-hoss reh-goo-lah-DOOR
Governing bodies that regulate viticulture, vinification and maturation of Spanish wines. Comprised of winemakers, growers and oenologists.
continental climate
Continental climates are those with a wide variance between summer high and winter low temperatures.
continuous method
Method developed in Russia to make sparkling wine. Base wine is fed into a series of sealed tanks and yeast is added. By the final tank, the second fermentation has been completed, the yeast has settled and the wine is clear.
copita ko-PEE-tah
A small tulip shaped wineglass used to serve Sherry. It is very similar to the standard ISO (International Organization for Standardization) tasting glass, with a capacity of about 120 mL.
Corbières AOC cor-B'YAIR
Appellation in the Languedoc region of southern France; robust, spicy red wines with the carignan variety predominant in the blend.
cortese cor-TEH-zeh
White grape variety grown in northern Italy, and celebrated for the famous Cortese di Gavi DOCG. Naturally high acidity must be managed for this variety to show its best, with wines that are crisp and fresh and well-suited to seafood.
Cortese di Gavi DOCG cor-TEH-seh dee GAH-vee
DOCG for white wines from the cortese grape variety, which are prized for their minerally, tangy flavours and delicate aromas.
corvina cor-VEE-nah
The best red variety of Italy’s Veneto region, and the foundation of the Valpolicella blend. The cherry flavours and crisp acidity of corvina are joined by fig and chocolatey notes when the grapes are partially dried for the production of Amarone.
Côte Chalonnaise COAT shal-on-NAYS
Extending south of the Côte de Beaune, this region is noted for good value red and white Burgundy.
Côte d’Or coat DOR
Encompasses the Côte de Beaune in the south and Côtes de Nuits in the north; Burgundy's best red and white wines.
Côte de Brouilly AOC COAT duh brew-YEE
Beaujolais Cru located on higher slopes within the Brouilly appellation.
Côte Rôtie AOC COAT roh-TEE
Northern Rhône appellation for rich, age-worthy wines predominantly from syrah; the white variety viognier may be blended to a maximum of 20%.
Côtes de Beaune AOC COAT duh bohn
Southern part of Burgundy's Côte d’Or; both red and white are produced, however it is the white wines that have made the region famous.
Côtes de Nuits COAT duh n'wee
The northern part of Burgundy's Côte d’Or, noted for powerful, long-lived red wines from the pinot noir variety.
Côtes-du-Rhône AOC COAT doo r?wn
The basic appellation for France's Rhône Valley; the majority of wines under this appellation are easy-drinking, value-priced reds from the southern Rhône.
crackling
Refers to lightly sparkling wines, bottled with pressures substantially less than fully sparkling styles (French; pétillant, Italian; frizzante).
Creek Shores VQA
Creek Shores is one of the Niagara Peninsula’s ten sub-appellations. Here, on the shoreline of Lake Ontario, temperatures are moderated by proximity to the lake, as well as the waterways that run through the region. Creek Shores vineyards have good sun exposure, and the soils are well drained. Notable grape varieties include cabernet franc, riesling and chardonnay.
Crémant cray-MAHN
The term Crémant was created when the European Union revised legislation preventing the use of the term méthode champenoise by anyone outside the Champagne region. Includes Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Loire, and Crémant de Bourgogne.
Crianza kree-AHN-za (kree-AHN-tha)
Spanish wine labelling term; aged 2 years, with a minimum of 6 months in oak.
criolla (criolla chica) cree-OH-lah
Along with Chile's pais and the mission of California, the criolla chica is thought to be a descendant of the grapes brought to Mexico in the 16th century by the Conquistadors, and subsequently distributed through South and Central America by Jesuit missionaries.
cuvée koo-VAY
A blend or special lot of wine. In sparkling wine production, cuvée refers to the blend of base wines to which the dosage of sugar and yeast is added to start a second fermentation.

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degree days
Degree days are calculated based on the number of degrees per day (average temperature) in excess of an accepted threshold for growth of grapevines, which is 50° F (10°C).
Demerara (rum) dem-ur-AIR-ah
The full-bodied and flavourful Demerara rum is produced in Guyana, using both pot and column stills. It is a deep amber colour, and has aromas and flavours of molasses and burnt sugar.
Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) deh-nom-ee-na-SYON d'oh-REE-hen cah-lee-fee-CAH-dah
Quality category for Spanish wines. Prior to 2009, this was the highest category, held by only the regions of Rioja and Priorat. From 2009 on, a new category was created for very special vineyard sites. These are the Vinos de Pago (Estate Wines).
Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) day-no-mee-naht- ZEE-OH'NAY dee oh-REE- gee-nay con-troll-LAH-tah
Italian quality categories which fall under Protected Designation of Origin (DOP). DOCG is the highest category of Italian wine . As with DOC, there are controls on region, grape variety, yield and vinification. Additionally, DOCG wines must pass a tasting panel.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Guarantita (DOCG) day-no-mee-naht-ZEE-OH'NAY dee oh-REE-gee-nay con-troll-LAH-tah ae gah-ren-TEE-tah
Italian quality categories which fall under Protected Designation of Origin (DOP). DOCG is the highest category of Italian wine . As with DOC, there are controls on region, grape variety, yield, and vinification. Additionally, DOCG wines must pass a tasting panel.
diastase
The enzyme that converts starch to sugar during the malting of barley. The diastase is naturally present in abundance in the barley seed, thus making barley a preferred grain for brewing beer.
diatomaceous earth DIE-ah-tom-ay-shus
Sediments formed by the deposition of the hard shells of tiny marine organisms called diatoms. The material is mined and processed for use as a filtering medium.
diethylene glycol (DEG)
A colourless, odourless compound that has many industrial uses, however it is notoriously linked to many food and beverage adulteration scandals. In 1985, some Austrian wines were found to contain high levels of DEG, prompting a crisis for the Austrian wine industry.
digestif dee-jess-TEEF
A digestif is an alcoholic beverage served after a meal, intended to stimulate digestion. The idea that alcohol aids in digestion may have some anecdotal support, however this does not get much support from health professionals.
disgorging/dégorgement dis-GOR-jing, day-gorzh-MAHN
In sparkling wine production, disgorging (dégorgement) is the process of removing the sediment of spent yeast from the bottle after second fermentation has taken place.
distillation
The vapourization of an alcoholic liquid, followed by the condensation of the vapours and collection of the purified spirit.
dolce DOLE-chay
Italian word meaning sweet, also used to describe something that is gentle or pleasant.
dolcetto dohl-CHET-toh
Light, soft, aromatic red wine from Italy's Piedmont (Piemonte) region. Black cherry aromas and flavours are typical, and dolcetto usually has moderate to low tannins. An impression of fruit sweetness is followed by a hint of bitter cherry on the finish.
dosage doe-SAHJ
In sparkling wine production, a final topping up and adjustment of the sweetness of the wine through the addition of sugar mixed with some base wine. The sweetness of the finished wine is dependent on the amount of sugar in the dosage.
doubler
A doubler still is a second stage added to a column still which is used to achieve a high level of purity in the distillate. The doubler resembles a pot still.
Douro DOC DOH-roo
On its way to the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal’s Douro River flows among terraced vineyards which are carved into the steep banks of the river. These arid and rocky lands are planted with the robust, heat-loving grape varieties that make up the blend for Port wines and increasingly, a range of rich and flavourful un-fortified wines.
dried grape wines
In the countries of Europe and the Mediterranean basin the tradition of dried grape wines is widespread and quite ancient; Italy's Amarone della Valpolicella is made from partially dried grapes. Austria has its Strohwein (straw wine), a sweet wine made from grapes that are dried on mats of straw or reeds. France's Jura region makes Vin de Paille (French for straw wine) in a similar way.
drip system (irrigation)
Drip irrigation is used to deliver a precise amount of water to grapevines, as a water conservation measure and also to be able to maintain specific moisture levels at the root zone.
dry
A level of residual sugar in wine that would result in no perceived sweetness. Usually less than 2 g/L, however current European Union legislation would allow a wine with up to 4 g/L to be labelled as dry.

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eau-de-vie oh-duh-VEE
French term meaning "water of life." An alcoholic beverage made from fruits that are fermented, then distilled. A clear, colourless spirit made from fruits such as pears, cherries or plums.
einzellage INE-t'zel-lah-geh
German word for a single estate.
Eiswein ICE-vine
In Germany and Austria, the qualitätswein category with the highest required sugar content at harvest. The grapes must be frozen solid on the vine and are pressed while frozen. Rare, expensive and lusciously sweet.
Entre-Deux-Mer AOC ahn-truh duh MAIR
An appellation in Bordeaux which lies between the rivers Garonne and Gironde. This AOC is for white wines only, the chief source of basic AC Bordeaux wines; generally good quality, everyday white wines primarily from sauvignon blanc, sémillon and muscadelle.
enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that speed up the rate of certain chemical reactions.
escarpment
A cliff or steep slope caused by erosion or movement of the land along a geological fault line.
estuary
An estuary is a body of water where fresh water from a river meets the salt water of an ocean. These areas are rich in marine life and plants.
estufa ehs-TOO-fa
Heated warehouse designed for the maturation of Madeira wine. The heat accelerates aging and contributes to the character of the wine, mimicking long sea passages in the tropics.
ethanol
Ethanol is the technical name for the potable form of alcohol used in wine, beer and spirits.
European Union
The economic and political union of 27 European member states. A common currency and common policies on trade and agriculture have had a profound effect on the wine industry in Europe.

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falanghina fah-lan-GEE-nah
An Italian white grape variety with good quality and character, grown in small quantities in Campania. Falanghina may have been the basis of Falernian, one of the most prestigious wines of the Roman period.
fermentation (wine)
In winemaking, yeast consumes sugars in the grape juice, yielding the by-products alcohol, carbon dioxide and heat.
fiano F'YAHN-noh
Fiano is an indigenous Italian white variety that is showing its potential in weighty, aromatic Fiano di Avellino DOCG, which is one of only four DOCG wines from the Campania region of southern Italy.
filter
In winemaking, filtering is one of the techniques used for the removal of suspended solid particles which might cause the wine to appear cloudy, and which could also lead to condition problems.
fining
A process that ensures wine will be clear and free of suspended particles. Fining agents, such as gelatin or egg white, are added to the cask. These substances attract to themselves any minute particles that may have been floating in the wine, causing the particles to clump together and settle.
Fino FEE-no
The driest and most delicate Sherry style, notable for its maturation in barrel under a protective layer of yeast known as flor. The flor protects the wine from oxidation, preserving its pale colour and delicate, fresh aromas and flavours.
Fleurie AOC fluh-REE
Popular Cru Beaujolais with a lifted floral aroma that is a fitting reminder of its name.
flor
Wine making term; the layer of yeast that forms on the surface of wine, and a key factor in the production of certain sherry styles, as well as the vin jaune of France’s Jura region.
folle blanche fohl BLAHNSH
Historically the leading grape variety of the Cognac and Armagnac regions of France, noted for producing eau-de-vie with exceptional perfume and finesse. This variety was almost wiped out during the phylloxera outbreak, and folle blanche is now rarely planted, having been replaced with the reliable ugni blanc.
fortified wines
Wines that have had additional alcohol added, usually in the form of a grape spirit (brandy). Most warm climate wine regions produce some form of fortified wine.
Four Mile Creek VQA
Four Mile Creek is the largest in area of the Niagara Peninsula’s ten sub-appellations. It is essentially a flat plain, just inland from Niagara-on-the-Lake, with excellent sun exposure and cool evenings that provide good conditions for full-bodied red wines.
Franciacorta DOCG fran-cha-COR-tah
DOCG for high quality bottle fermented sparkling wines in Italy's Lombardia wine region.
Frascati DOC
Proximity to Rome has historically ensured a strong market for Frascati's light, fresh, neutral white wines. Trebbiano and malvasia are the main varieties of the region.
Fraser Valley VQA
The Fraser Valley wine region starts about 100 kilometres inland from Vancouver, and follows the Fraser River to its mouth on the Georgia Strait. This area experiences significant rainfall from autumn through to the spring; however July and August are much drier. Proximity to the Pacific coast ensures a cool, moderate climate, favouring varieties such as pinot noir and chardonnay.
friulano free-oo-LAN-oh
This grape variety was formerly known as tocai friulano. The most widely planted white variety of Italy's Friuli wine region, producing wines that have aromas of wildflowers and herbs.
frizzante freet-ZAN-teh
Italian term for lightly sparkling wines, bottled at pressures from 1.5 to 2.5 atmospheres (fully sparkling wines have pressures of 5 to 6 atmospheres).
furmint FOOR-meent
White grape variety noted for pronounced acidity. In its home country of Hungary, furmint is a component of the celebrated botrytis affected sweet wine Tokaji. When careful management tames its acidity, it can stand on its own in very interesting dry wines with distinctive smoky and lime/citrus character.
fusel oil FYOU-zel oyl
By-products of fermentation, and present in the tails of distillation; higher alcohols which are characterized by spirity, spicy and solvent-like aromas and flavours. Implicated as the main culprit in hangover.

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galets ga-LAY
One of the features of southern Rhône Valley vineyards is the large smooth stones known as galet. The layer of stones reflects and absorbs heat during the day, and radiates that heat to the vines as the sun sets. The stones also limit evaporation of water from the soil during dry summer months.
gamay noir GAM-may nwahr
This red grape is best known as the variety of Beaujolais, the light bodied, cherry-scented wine that originates in France, north of Lyon in the Burgundy wine district. Gamay shows great promise in Ontario, where it is well suited to the climate, and delivers good quality even when yields are fairly high.
garganega gar-GAHN-eh-gah
The grape variety of Soave, the most well-known white wine of Italy’s Veneto region. Garganega is vigorous, and this can lead to over-cropping and wines that are neutral and uninteresting. The best producers keep yields low, which enhances delicate citrus and almond flavours.
garrigue ga-REEG
Term for the scrubland areas of the Mediterranean basin with a particular eco-system that includes low shrubs and aromatic plants such as lavender, and wild thyme. The fragrance of these resinous plants perfumes the air, and some believe that the wines of the region may also reflect this influence.
Genever JEN-eh-ver
A spirit similar to gin which is produced in The Netherlands and Belgium under a Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO). Made from a combination of grain alcohol, malt wine and botanical flavourings. Genever must contain juniper, but in this spirit the juniper aroma may be subtler than in London Dry Gin.
Geographical Indications (GI)
Australia's denomination of origin system uses the term Geographical Indications (GI) for their officially recognized wine regions.
gewürztraminer geh-VURTS-tra-mee-nah
For those who can conquer the difficult pronunciation, this white grape variety offers an intensely aromatic experience. The hallmark aromas of lychee, grapefruit and flower blossoms accompany a palate that can be weighty, with low to medium acidity. A key variety in France's Alsace region, and notable for its success here in Ontario.
Gigondas AOC zhee-gohn-DAHS
Southern Rhône appellation producing wines similar, although lighter in style to Châteauneuf-du-Pape; from usual southern Rhône varieties grenache, syrah and mourvèdre. Known for very good value.
glera GLEH-rah
Glera is a white grape used in the production of the Italian sparkling wine called Prosecco. Formerly the grape variety was called prosecco also, however when Prosecco was promoted to a DOCG classification, glera was adopted as the official name for the grape variety.
glycerol GLISS-er-awl
Glycerol is a natural by-product of the fermentation of grapes. It has no colour or aroma, but has a mildly sweet taste. In sweet botrytis affected wines, high glycerol levels may contribute to the wine's mouthfeel.
gobelet GAWB'lay
A vine training style without wires or any other trellis or support. Also known as bush vines, the vine can take on the shape of a goblet.
Gran Reserva gran reh-SAIR-vah
Spanish wine labelling term; aged 5 years, with a minimum of 2 years in oak.
grappa
Grappa is an aromatic and characterful spirit fermented and distilled from the grape pomace left over after winemaking. This is similar to other pomace brandies, such as French marc and Portuguese bagaceira. In Italy, grappa is served primarily as a digestif.
gravel
A free-draining, low nutrient soil type composed of rounded stones and pebbles.
Graves AOC grahv
Graves is located on Bordeaux's left bank, south of the Garonne river; this region produces both red and white wines of good quality.
greco GRAY-coh
This aromatic white grape variety has a long history in southern Italy, where it was established by Greeks as they colonized the area 2500 years ago. In Campania, near the town of Tufo, the DOCG Greco di Tufo recognizes the quality of the this variety, which achieves its best expression on volcanic soils.
grenache greh-NASH
Widely planted red variety, producing juicy, drinkable reds and flavourful rosés in Spain and the south of France. Yields high alcohol, but prone to oxidation and lacking in colour. Often blended - the trio of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre are a Rhône tradition that has taken root in Australia and California.
grillo GREE-loh
A white grape variety native to Sicily, which was historically important in the production of Marsala, Sicily’s famous fortified wine. Although plantings of grillo have been declining as the market for Marsala diminishes, varietal and blended wines featuring this interesting variety show promise.
grist
Term for coarsely ground grains (such as barley, corn, rye) which are used in fermentation and distillation to create a mash.
grosslage GROSS-lah-geh
German term for a group of vineyards, as distinct from einzellage which refers to a single vineyard or estate.
grüner veltliner groo-nehr felt-LEE-nah
The leading white grape variety of Austria, grüner veltliner has emerged from relative obscurity to take its place one of the most interesting European varietal white wines. The wines are light to medium-bodied, with characteristic aromas of celery and white pepper.
Gulf Islands VQA
The Gulf Islands wine region covers the archipelago of islands that lie between Vancouver Island and the mainland. A mild maritime climate and a long tradition of fruit-growing make this region a new and promising source for Canadian wines. The climate is dry in summer, and scarcity of fresh water for irrigation can be a challenge.
guyot ghee-OH
A vine-training style developed in the 19th century, and the most widely used system in Bordeaux. From the vine trunk, fruiting canes are trained in opposite directions along wires.
gyropalette ZHEE-roh-pal-ett
In sparkling wine production, a machine used to shake the inactive yeast into the neck of the bottle. This mechanized system, which processes hundreds of bottles at a time, is an efficient replacement for labour intensive hand riddling.

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Haut-Médoc AOC OH may-DOCK
Sub-region of Bordeaux's Médoc district; the centre of quality red wine production in France.
heads (distillation)
In distillation, certain compounds have a lower boiling point than ethanol, and these will be the first to condense as the temperature of the still rises. This is known as the heads of the distillation. The heart of the distillation is a temperature range where ethanol (potable alcohol) is in highest concentration. When the alcohol percentage starts to decrease, the distillation is entering a phase called the tails, and this too is separated.
heart (distillation)
In distillation, certain compounds have a lower boiling point than ethanol, and these will be the first to condense as the temperature of the still rises. This is known as the heads of the distillation. The heart of the distillation is a temperature range where ethanol (potable alcohol) is in highest concentration. When the alcohol percentage starts to decrease, the distillation is entering a phase called the tails, and this too is separated.
hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of measure for area, and is defined as 10,000 square metres. This is equivalent to 2.47 acres.
Hermitage AOC air-mee-TAHJ
A northern Rhône appellation for red wines from the syrah variety. Overlooking the town of Tain L'Hermitage, the vineyards cover a steep granite hillside which faces the afternoon sun. Hermitage wines are considered to be one of the best expressions of syrah, and the powerful wines are earthy and tannic, with the potential to age for decades.
heuriger HOY-ree-gehr
Austria's historic wine taverns, which sell only their own wines, accompanied by a simple buffet. These taverns show that they are open and ready for business by displaying fresh pine boughs above the front door.
Highland (malt whisky)
The Highland region is the largest of the Scotch whisky producing regions. It is geographically diverse, and can be divided into sub-regions; Central, Southern and Eastern. Highland malts are known for their light body and dry finish.
hops
The flower of a climbing plant, which is dried and used to impart a characteristic bitter, tangy flavour to beer. Hops also acts as a natural preservative, inhibiting micro-organisms that could spoil the beer.
hot pressing
see thermovinification
Humboldt current
A cold Pacific Ocean current that flows along the west coast of South America. These cold waters are the source of cool ocean breezes that moderate the climate in the wine regions in Chile.
hybrid
Grape varieties that are a result of a crossing between two different Vitis species, for example, vinifera and riparia. The European Union uses the term interspecific cross.

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Icewine
A sweet wine made from botrytis affected grapes; this is the highest level of ripeness and concentration of wine in Alsace, France.
Icewine
Icewine is a sweet wine made from grapes that have been left to freeze naturally on the vine. Pressed while still frozen, the grapes yield a viscous, concentrated must. High sugars create a difficult environment for the yeast; fermentation stops early, resulting in a low alcohol level and high residual sugar.
Indicazione Geographica Tipica (IGT) in-dee-caht- ZEE OH' NAE ge-oh-GRAF- ee-cah TEE-pee-cah
Italy's wine quality level which corresponds to the European Union's Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). This category allows the use of international varieties, and gives producers the freedom to experiment and produce wines that reflect the quality potential of Italy's wide range of terroir.
indigenous
Characteristic to a particular place.
infusion
Method of extracting flavours from ingredients such as fresh fruits or botanicals. The ingredients would be steeped in a liquid, in the same way that tea is brewed. Alcohol is particularly effective at extracting the essential oils of botanical flavouring ingredients.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
The International Organization for Standardization is a network of national standards organizations, and is responsible for the development of technical standards for business, government and society.
inzolia een-T'SOH-lee-yah
A white grape variety found in Sicily, and together with grillo and catarratto part of the blend for the famous fortified wine Marsala. Produces wines that are fresh and lively, with aromas and flavours of citrus, almonds and herbs. Yields must be kept low for the best quality.
irrigation
To deliver water to agricultural crops, through a variety of systems, ranging from simple ditches and canals to sophisticated computer controlled drip irrigation that dispenses measured amounts of water directly to the root zone of the plant.
Islands (malt whisky)
The Islands is one of the sub-regions of the Highlands Scotch whisky region. The Island whiskies are peatier than Highland malts, though not with the same intensity of their island counterpart Islay.
Islay (malt whisky) EYE-luh
The Island of Islay is home to roughly eight distilleries, producing intensely aromatic malts that are considered to be the strongest and most pungent of all. Local peat is used to fuel kilns, imparting a smoky character to the malt as it is dried.

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Jerez, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry DOP heh-RETH
Jerez de la Frontera is the city in southwest Spain that is the focus of the Sherry industry. The city gives its name to the DOP for sherry wines.
Joven HO-ven
Spanish wine label term; bottled in the year of vintage.
Juliénas AOC zhoo-lee-ay-NAH
Cru Beaujolais from an area planted by the Romans - the village is named after Julius Caesar; noted for the rich and spicy character of its wines.
juniper
An evergreen shrub which bears small berry-like fruits (actually the seed-cones of the shrub) that are used as an aromatizing and flavouring ingredient in spirits such as gin and genever.

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K

Kabinett KAB-ee-net
The first "step" on the German and Austrian Prädikatswein hierarchy of wine quality levels, which relate to the sugar content of the grape must at harvest.
kimmeridgian kim-ur-RIJ-ee-an
Fossil-rich limestone soil that is common in Burgundy, Champagne and the Loire Valley of France.
kir KEER
Drink made by adding blackcurrant liqueur to a dry white wine. The typical base wine is the crisp Aligoté from Burgundy. Kir Royale is a variation made with a sparkling base wine.
koji KOH-jee
For the production of saké, rice is fermented with a mould called koji to convert starch to fermentable sugars.
kosher, kosher wine
Wine has a central and important role in Jewish culture and ritual. Kosher wines conform to Jewish religious and dietary law. For a wine to be certified as kosher the people involved in production and handling must themselves be observant Jews. Kosher wines are identified on the label with a special symbol.
kräusen, kräusened, kräusening KROY-zen
Refers to a process used in brewing and conditioning beer, which uses actively fermenting wort. A quantity of already fermenting wort may be added to a new batch of wort to initiate fermentation, or a measure of fermenting beer (kräusen) is added to finished beer in a closed tank.

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L

labrusca lah-BROOS-ka
Labrusca is a native North American vine species, and the source of cultivars and hybrids that were the foundation of the Ontario wine industry prior to the 1970s. Hybrids with labrusca parentage are not allowed the VQA classification.
lager
A bright, pale beer made from much the same grains as ale but bottom fermented at a cooler temperature, and for a longer period of time.
Lake Erie North Shore VQA
Lake breezes moderate the climate on shallow Lake Erie's north shore. Grapes reach full maturity during a long, moderate growing season.
lambic beer
Unique to Belgium, lambic beers undergo a natural, spontaneous fermentation through the action of wild yeasts. The tart, sour flavours of lambic are often enhanced with the addition of fruits; for example, kriek beer is made with cherries.
lambrusco lam-BROOS-coh
A grape variety that is a specialty of the Emilia-Romagna region of central Italy, most well known for the off-dry sparkling red wines that are made under four DOCs in the central provinces of Emilia.
Lambrusco DOC lam-BROOS-koh
A group of denominations of origin for bubbly, fruity red wine from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Either dry or off-dry, with pronounced acidity, these wines are a perfect match for the rich local cuisine, and are made from lambrusco, a highly productive grape variety.
Languedoc LAHN'geh-doc
Large region in the south of France that extends from Avignon on the Rhône river in an arc around the Gulf of Lion to the Spanish border. The world's most productive wine region, and the source of both AOC and IGP wines.
lees
Sediments at the bottom of a fermentation vessel, made up of spent yeast, grape skins and seeds, and other solids.
left bank
Refers to that part of Bordeaux's wine districts which fall on the left (south) bank of the Gironde Estuary and Garonne River. Includes Graves, Sauternes, Barsac, Pessac-Léognan and Médoc.
Liebfraumilch LEEB-frow-milsh
A Qualitätswein wine, originating in the Nahe, Rheinhessen or Pfalz wine regions. Sylvaner and müller-thurgau are the principal grape varieties used. It is more a style of wine than anything else and, as such, it is mild and slightly sweet. A completely dry Liebfraumilch is not allowed.
limestone
Sedimentary rock composed of forms of calcium carbonate; the remains of corals and marine organisms. Significant in viticulture, as limestone soils are a feature of many famous wine-growing regions.
Lincoln Lakeshore VQA
Lincoln Lakeshore is one of the Niagara Peninsula’s ten sub-appellations. It runs along the shore of Lake Ontario, with its southern boundary at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment. Proximity to the lake means a long, moderated growing season, which favours some of the grape varieties that are more sensitive to cold damage.
Lirac AOC LEE-rack
Southern Rhône appellation producing primarily reds and rosés from grenache and other Rhône varieties.
loess LUHSS
Soil made up of fine, wind-blown particles. Loess soils hold water well and are fertile, and are associated with some of the worlds most productive agricultural lands.
Lowland (malt whisky)
The lowland region lies south of a line that runs from Greenoch on Scotland's west coast to Dundee in the east. Lowland whiskies are generally made with un-peated malt, which enhances the lightly sweet and fruity character of the spirit.

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macabeo mah-cah-BAY-oh
White grape variety widely grown in the Rioja region of northeast Spain, and the Cava producing regions south of Barcelona. Macabeo, also known as viura, grows well in warm, dry climates and produces neutral, lightly aromatic wines with good acidity.
maceration mass-ur-AY-shun
Especially in red wine making, a process where the crushed grapes are soaked with the grape juice before, during or after fermentation to extract flavour, colour and tannins.
Mâcon AOC mah-COHN
Burgundy appellation best known for ripe, fruity chardonnay. The basic wines of the Mâconnais district are labeled as Mâcon or Mâcon Supérieur.
Mâconnais mah-cohn-NAY
The Burgundy wine region that lies to the south of the Côte Chalonnaise, noted for refreshing, well-priced white wines from chardonnay.The basic wines of the Mâconnais district are labeled as Mâcon or Mâcon Supérieur, however the wines of greater interest are Mâcon-Villages. Viré-Clessé, Pouilly-Fuissé and St-Véran are all well-recognized appellations.
Madeira DOC (Denominação de Origen Controlada) mah-DEER-ah (English), MAH-dye-rah (Portuguese)
The DOC for fortified wines of Portugal's Island of Madeira. One of the world's most long-lived wines, with a unique method of maturation that is the key to Madeira's style. The wines are matured in heated warehouses in conditions that mirror the effect of long sea passages in the holds of ships. The heat accelerates the oxidative aging of the wines.
maderization mad-ur-eye-ZAY-shun
Accelerated oxidation of wine by heat referred to as "baked" in a spoiled wine; long term and purposeful heating of wines from the island of Madeira.
Maipo DO MY-poh
The Maipo region stretches from Chile's capital city of Santiago to the foothills of the coastal mountains. Some of Chile's best cabernet sauvignon from Chile's most established wine region.
malbec MAL-bek
Malbec hails from Bordeaux in southwest France, but nowadays finds fame as Argentina's signature red grape. The wines are soft, deeply coloured and brimming with dark, plummy fruit. Leading variety also in the French region of Cahors, which is on a resurgence now.
malolactic fermentation mallow-LACK-tick
The conversion of malic acid into softer lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria after initial fermentation; desirable in acidic wines to create softer, creamy textures.
malvasia mal-vah-ZEE-yah
A family of grapes with many sub-varieties. In central Italy, it is blended with trebbiano in wines such as Frascati DOC, from the hills near Rome. In Spain, the white wines of Rioja benefit from malvasia's round texture. The richest style of Madeira is made from malvasia, but is known as Malmsey.
mammolo MAM-oh-loh
An increasingly rare red grape variety with historical significance in Tuscany as one of the components of the Chianti blend. Named after mammole, the Italian word for violets, the variety is still used in Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, however it has a decreasing share of the Tuscan vineyard.
marc MAHR
Marc is a French pomace brandy, similar to grappa, made from the pomace left over from winemaking. It is produced by the fermentation and distillation of the pomace remaining after winemaking. Generally pomace brandies are not aged, but French marc is aged in oak, and sometimes vintage dated.
maréchal foch mah-ray-shall FOSH
French hybrid variety that is cold-hardy and early ripening. These attributes are well suited to Ontario, New York State and British Columbia, where this variety has a good following. The gamy and tart notes associated with hybrid varieties are diminished in fruit from older vines.
Margaux AOC mahr-GOH
This Bordeaux appellation is noted for the first growth Chateau Margaux, as well as a number of leading classed growth properties. Elegant and perfumed wines, considered to be among Bordeaux's best.
maritime climate
A climate type with a small annual temperature range due to the moderating effects of an ocean or sea; opposite to continental climate.
marl
A crumbly type of soil consisting of limestone and clay which is found in northern Burgundy and southern Rhône.
Marlborough GI
The Marlborough region has been key to New Zealand's rise to prominence for benchmark quality sauvignon blanc. With promising results, chardonnay and pinot noir will follow suit.
Marsala DOC mar-SAH-lah
Marsala is the famous fortified wine of Italy’s island region of Sicily. Marsala has great historical significance, as it was very popular in England following its introduction there in the latter part of the 18th century. Traditionally served as an aperitif or dessert wine, it is today more commonly associated with the kitchen.
marsanne MAR-sann
Marsanne dominates the white blends of France’s northern Rhône Valley, and is one of the main varieties in white Châteauneuf du Pape. It is also found in small amounts in California and Australia. The best examples are full-bodied and weighty, with aromas of almonds, melon and wildflowers.
mash
All styles of brewing begin with this thick, soupy liquid that consists of grist and brewing water, where starch and proteins are converted into sugars and amino acids for fermentation.
Maule DO M?W-leh
The Andes mountains form a backdrop for Chile's expansive central valley. The Maule region is the largest and longest established of Chile's wine regions.
Mediterranean climate
Long term weather patterns characterized by dry, hot, sunny summers and wet, mild winters.
Médoc AOC may-DOCK
On the west bank of the Gironde river in Bordeaux (left bank), the Médoc is France's most famous wine region. The climate is moderated by the Gironde estuary, and the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
melon de bourgogne meh-LOHN duh boor-GOHN-yuh
The white grape variety of the Muscadet wines from France's Loire valley. Melon produces wines that are light, crisp and neutral - the perfect match for fresh seafood.
Mendoza DOC men-DOE-zah
Argentina's largest and most productive wine region is found at high elevations in the foothills of the Andes mountains. Malbec is the leading grape variety.
meritage MAIR-ih-tehj
Term of American origin, now also adopted by VQA, combining "merit" and "heritage" to describe wines made from a blend of the Bordeaux varieties (cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec, petit verdot for reds, sauvignon blanc, sémillon and muscadelle for whites).
merlot mair-LOH
Merlot's reputation has been built on its soft, lush character. In Bordeaux, it provides softness that balances the tough, astringent tannins of cabernet sauvignon. Tolerant of cooler, damper conditions, it is a good fit for coastal California, Washington State, British Columbia and Ontario.
mescal mes-KAL
see mezcal
méthode Champenoise may-TOAD shahm-pen-WAHS
A French term used to describe sparkling wine production. This term is currently out of use, as it was banned in 1994 by the European Union. See also Traditional Method.
méthode traditionelle may TOAD tra-dee-syon-ELL
French for Traditional Method of sparkling wine production; see Traditional Method.
Meursault AOC MAIR-soh
Village appellation in Burgundy's Côte de Beaune; elegant and ageworthy chardonnays that are lauded as some of the finest white wines produced anywhere.
mezcal mes-KAL
The spirit produced in southern Mexico from the smoked piñas of the agave plant; similar to tequila, but with a distinctive smokiness.
Midi mee-DEE
The unofficial name for the wine regions in the south of France (Languedoc, Roussillon and Provence); the name refers to "midday" when the sun is at its highest point.
mistelle mees-TELL
The French term for a combination of fermenting grape juice and alcohol added to halt the fermentation process; the resulting stable product is high in alcohol and sweet with residual sugar.
mistral mees-TRAHL
The famous north wind that blows through the Rhône Valley and southern France is capable of destroying vineyards and damaging vines.
mixto MEEKS-to
Tequila identified on the label with “100% agave” or “100% agave azul” means that only agave is used for fermentation. If the label does not state 100% agave, then the product is mixto tequila. Mixto is made with a proportion of raw material (usually sugar cane) other than agave.
molinara moh-lee-NAHR-ah
An Italian grape variety which plays a small part in the Veneto region's Valpolicella blend. This grape variety has high acidity, and a small proportion brings an important crispness and liveliness to the blend.
monastrell moh-nah-STRELL
see mourvedre
montepulciano mon-teh-pul-CHAN-oh
Best known grape of Italy's Abruzzo region. Makes a robust wine with deep colour and abundant, fine tannins. Frequently very good value, and in the blend called Rosso Conero DOC, can achieve outstanding quality.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG mon-teh-pul-CHAN-oh dah-BROOT-zoh
Simple, early-drinking wines from Italy's Abruzzo region. The montepulciano grape variety produces wines that are deeply coloured, with moderate acidity and soft tannins.
Montilla mon-TEE-yah
A higher-alcohol unfortified wine from Andalucía, Spain that is similar to Sherry and is produced in styles ranging from dry to sweet.
Morellino di Scansano DOCG moh-reh-LEE-noh dee scan-SAH-noh
DOCG located in Tuscany's coastal region of Maremma. The grape variety sangiovese thrives in the coastal climate, creating wines that are more generous than wines originating further inland.
Morgon AOC mohr-GOHN
Cru Beaujolais of considerable depth and aging potential. As this wine matures, it can take on earthy and meaty notes typical of Burgundy wines from the pinot noir variety.
Moscato D'Asti DOCG MOS-cah-toh D'AHS-tee
DOCG sparkling white wine made in and around the town of Asti in the northern Italy region of Piedmont (Piemonte). Lightly sweet, aromatic and low in alcohol.
Mosel MOH-sell
One of Germany's 13 wine growing regions (Anbaugebiet). Known for rieslings that are racy, refreshing and elegant.
Moulin-à-Vent AOC moo-lahn-ah-VEHN
Cru Beaujolais named for a landmark 15th century windmill. Soils rich in manganese create a full-bodied style of Beaujolais which is sometimes aged in oak.
mourvèdre moor-VED-ruh
A red variety high in alcohol and tannins, and is most associated with the south of France. It needs a lot of heat to ripen, and is also grown in Spain, where it is known as monastrell. Often a blending partner for grenache and syrah.
mousse moos
The carbonation or fizziness in a sparkling wine.
mousseux MOO-suh
The French word for bubbly; refers to sparkling wine made in a variety of processes.
Mull (malt whisky)
Mull is one of Scotland's Western Islands, and its one active distillery makes two distinctly different single malts. Tobermory is delicate, dry and lightly peated, and Ledaig is more full-bodied, with a very aromatic, peaty character.
müller-thurgau mew-lehr TUR-gow
A vinifera crossing which was created in Germany in the late 19th century. At one time Germany's most planted white variety, used to produce large quantities of medium sweet, inexpensive, fruity wines. Decreasing in importance now as German growers concentrate their efforts on riesling and pinot noir.
muscat MOOS-caht
Quite probably the original wine grape, with its origins in the Mediterranean basin. Now grown widely in Europe and the rest of the wine world, but always bringing the heady aromas of ripe grapes, honey and flowers. A host of styles, from bone dry in Alsace to lusciously sweet dessert wines around the Mediterranean.
must
Liquid resulting from the pressing or crushing of grapes, which consists of juice, and may include grapes, skins, stems, pulp and seeds.
must weight
The concentration or weight of dissolved sugars in must as an indication of ripeness of grapes and potential alcohol.

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Napa Valley AVA
California's most recognized wine region, with a wide range of soils and microclimates. Noted for structured and ageworthy cabernet sauvignon, velvety merlot and sumptuous chardonnay.
nebbiolo neh-B'YOH-loh
The leading variety of northern Italy's Piemonte region. High in both tannins and acidity, this grape variety produces wines that require substantial bottle aging before they are truly ready to drink. Characteristics include a pale garnet colour, and aromatic complexity.
negroamaro neh-gro-ah-MAR-oh
A sturdy, dark-skinned red grape variety of southern Italy, specifically Puglia. On its own it produces wines that are deeply coloured with firm, grippy tannins and earthy flavours. In Puglia’s most well-known reds, such as Brindisi or Salice Salentino it is blended with the softer malvasia nera.
nero NEH-ro
Italian word for black, used as a prefix or suffix for naming red grape varieties with dark skins, for example nero d'avola, pinot nero.
nero d'avola NAY-roh DAH-voh-lah
The most widely planted red grape variety in Italy’s island region of Sicily. Often compared to syrah/shiraz, this variety produces wines that are dark, concentrated and robust, with plummy and spicy fruit character.
nero di troia / uva di troia NAY-roh dee TROY-ah
In the southern Italy region of Puglia, this little-known red grape variety is gaining acclaim. The variety is challenging to work with, with low yields and the tendency to ripen late. It yields wines of deep colour, with abundant tannins and high alcohol. It has the capacity to age well, and can accommodate the spice of new oak.
New World
Wine making regions of the world other than Europe and the Mediterranean basin (see Old World). Also used as a descriptor of a wine style that emphasizes technology over tradition and places a greater focus on grape variety than place of origin.
Niagara Escarpment VQA
Niagara Escarpment is one of two regional appellations within the Niagara Peninsula appellation. Regional appellations combine several smaller appellations with similar character. This region includes the Short Hills Bench, Twenty Mile Bench and the Beamsville Bench; a series of north facing slopes which are tucked beneath the ridge of the escarpment.
Niagara Lakeshore VQA
Niagara Lakeshore is one of the Niagara Peninsula’s ten sub-appellations. This area hugs the lake Ontario shoreline between the Welland Canal and the Niagara River, and it is this proximity to the Lake that is the main influence. The growing season is long, and this area is known for full bodied wines.
Niagara Peninsula VQA
The largest planted area of all viticultural areas in Canada. An extended growing season results from the combined moderating effect of Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment.
Niagara River VQA
Niagara River is one of the Niagara Peninsula’s ten sub-appellations; a narrow strip of land that runs along the west bank of the river north of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The fast flowing river creates strong air currents that draw cooler air down into the deep river gorge, resulting in a moderating effect and an extended growing season.
Niagara-on-the-Lake VQA
Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of two regional appellations within the Niagara Peninsula appellation. This region includes four sub-appellations; Niagara River, Niagara Lakeshore, Four Mile Creek and St. David’s Bench. Main factors defining this region are the proximity to Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, and the flat topography that offers good sun exposure.
noble rot
Familiar name for Botrytis Cinerea (French; pourriture noble).
nose
Common term for the aroma or bouquet of a beverage alcohol product; the step of smelling in the process of assessing beverage alcohol.
Nuits-Saint-Georges AOC N'WEE sehn-zhorzh
A French appellation in Côte de Nuits, northern Côte d'Or, Burgundy that is reputable for structured and elegant pinot noir wines.

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oechsle UHKS-le
A scale measured in degrees Oechsle that determines ripeness of grapes by the sugar content of the grape juice.
oenology ee-NAW-lo-gee
The study of wine and wine-making; from "oinos," the Greek word for wine . Oenology has always placed an emphasis on wine-making; although nowadays a modern perspective encompasses viticulture as well, acknowledging that wine quality depends more than anything else on quality fruit.
oenotria ee-NOH-tree-ah
When early Greek explorers started to colonize Italy, they called it Oenotria – The Land of Wine. That was over 2000 years ago – today, this description is as valid as ever, with wine production taking place over the entire country.
Oidium oh-ID-ee-yum
The European name for the fungal disease Powdery Mildew.
Okanagan Valley VQA OH-kan-aw-gan
The Okanagan Valley is one of British Columbia’s recognized viticultural areas; it follows the basin of Okanagan Lake from Sicamous south to the U.S. border. The climate is dry, with plenty of sunshine, and Okanagan Lake provides a moderating effect. This is British Columbia’s leading wine region, with 95% of British Columbia’s total wine production.
Old World
Europe, Mediterranean basin and North Africa: the wine making regions with ancient traditions and a long history of wine growing.
oloroso oh-low-ROW-so
A style of Sherry that is classically dry, dark and strong with a nutty flavour; inexpensive oloroso sherry destined for export is often sweet.
Ontario viticultural areas
Ontario has four main viticultural areas; Prince Edward County, Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Pelee Island.
organic viticulture
Regulated and certified viticultural practices that deny the use of artificially and industrially synthesized pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers; genetic modifications are banned and only natural products and processes are permitted.
Orkney (malt whisky)
The islands of Orkney lie off the northernmost tip of Scotland in the North Sea. The main island is home to two active distilleries, Highland Park and Scapa. These whiskies are distinct, with Highland Park showing a rich and powerful presence, and Scapa a more restrained, medium-bodied character.
Orvieto DOC Or-V'YEH-toh
Crisp, dry white wine from trebbiano and other varieties grown near the town of Orvieto in central Italy's Umbria region. The historically popular abboccato (lightly sweet) version is now rare.
oxidation
Reaction occurring when crushed grapes, juice or wine are exposed to oxygen. Faulted wines that are oxidized appear darker in colour and taste cooked, nutty or bitter. Wines such as Oloroso Sherry, Tawny Port and Madeira are intentionally oxidized, and have a deep colour and nutty, tangy flavour.

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Paarl WO PAH-rl
Important South African wine region, which lies inland from Cape Town. Home of the large and influential cooperative KWV, and a growing number of small to mid-sized estates.
palate
The tasting capabilities in the mouth, specifically that part of the assessment of beverage alcohol that involves taste, mouthfeel and the perception of acidity and sweetness.
palate
The tasting capabilities in the mouth, specifically that part of the assessment of beverage alcohol that involves taste, mouthfeel and the perception of acidity and sweetness.
pale ale
A style of beer that is top-fermented and produced from paler malts. Usually copper coloured, well hopped and bitter; styles include American pale ale, India pale ale, and English bitter.
palomino pal-oh-MEE-noh
The primary grape variety for Sherry, which thrives on the chalky albariza soils of Spain’s Jerez region. Palomino is high-yielding, neutral and low in sugar and acidity. These attributes make this variety ideal for the production of Sherry.
passetoutgrain PASS-too-grahn
Dry red wine from Burgundy, France that is comprised of a minimum of one-third pinot noir and the remainder gamay noir.
pasteurization
A process for quality and safety of food and beverage products involving rapid heating of the product to a specific temperature, which is held for a prescribed time before a similarly rapid cooling. This kills bacteria and other organisms.
patent still
Also known as the Coffey still, an apparatus where distillation occurs in a continuous process.
Pauillac AOC poy-YAK
Renowned appellation in the Médoc district of Bordeaux. Three out of five of the famous first growths lie within its borders (Lafite, Latour, Mouton-Rothschild).
peat
Partially decayed organic matter that has accumulated in wetlands for millenia; when dried, it is used as a fuel source for malted barley kilns in Scotch whiskey production. The smoke from burning peat gives Scotch whisky its characteristic smoky aroma and flavour.
pedró ximénez PAY-dro hee-MEN-ess
Secondary grape variety of Spain's Jerez region, used to sweeten oloroso and cream Sherries, and on its own as a particularly sweet dessert sherry.
Pelee Island VQA PEE-lee
The site of Canada's first commercial winery (Vin Villa 1866) Canada's southernmost location boasts a lengthy growing season that is ideal for late ripening red varieties.
Penedès DOP Pen-ah-DESS
Spanish wine region located near Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast. Noted for Cava, the bottle-fermented sparkling wines made from local grape varieties.
petit verdot puh-TEE vair-DOH
As one of the five allowed red grape varieties in the celebrated Bordeaux wines of France, petit Verdot plays a small but significant role, contributing its main assets of deep colour, firm structure and floral perfume to the wines of the Médoc region.
pH
Stands for "potential of Hydrogen" which is a logarithmic scale for the measurement of acid in a material. On this scale, 0 is most acidic, 7 is neutral (distilled water) and 14 is alkaline.
phylloxera fill-OX-er-ah
An aphid, native to eastern North America, that destroyed vineyards across Europe in the 19th Century by attacking the roots of grape vines; a solution was discovered by grafting the rootstock from resistant North American vine species onto European Vitis vinifera vines.
Piedmont (Piemonte) PEED-mont (pee-eh-MON-teh)
Important and productive wine region in northern Italy where the famous nebbiolo based wines Barbaresco and Barolo are produced. Lighter wines made from the red grape barbera, and off-dry sparklers made from the aromatic moscato grape are also produced here.
Pierce's disease
A bacterial disease of the vine that is native to North America and has no cure; spread by leafhopper insects, the vines die in one to five years.
pilsner PILS-nair
A style of lager (bottom fermented) beer that is golden in colour and was developed in Plzen (Pilsen), Czech Republic in the mid 19th Century.
piña PEE-nyah
In tequila production, the piña is the dense core of the agave plant, which is cooked and mashed to extract the sweet juice which is fermented. Normally covered with long, spiky leaves, the piña is trimmed by skilled workers (jimador) using a sharp, bladed tool called a coa.
pinot blanc pee-noh BLAHNK
White grape variety widely grown in Europe, and often compared to chardonnay, although its subtlety and lack of strong aromatics can be perceived as blandness. Prized for sparkling wine production because of high acidity and neutrality.
pinot gris / grigio pee-noh GREE-joh
Pinot gris / grigio is riding a worldwide wave of popularity. Wines are made in a wide range of styles, from the simple and lightly fruity wines of northern Italy, to weighty, spicy and full-bodied examples from Alsace. Ontario and British Columbia are also producing some excellent pinot gris.
pinot meunier pee-noh MOON-yay
One of the varieties used for Champagne production, along with pinot noir and chardonnay. A reliable ripener, its dependable productivity is popular with growers.
pinot noir pee-noh NWAHR
The highly revered red variety of France’s Burgundy region. It is challenging for both growers and winemakers, but the pursuit of quality with this variety has become a goal the world over. In cool climate regions especially, winemakers seek to emulate the complexity of Burgundy’s best red wines.
pinotage pee-noh-TAHJ
A cross of pinot noir and cinsault, pinotage is South Africa's signature red variety, producing wines with a wild, rustic fruit character. Lower yields and careful winemaking have tamed some of its more pungent characteristics, and the best examples show an affinity for oak and the capacity for aging.
pisco PEES-ko
A grape brandy produced in Peru and Chile, often from aromatic grape varieties like moscato or torrontés.
polyphenols pawl-ee-FEE-nawls
Also known as phenolics, or polyphenolics; reactive chemical compounds in grapes that include colour pigments, tannins and flavour compounds.
pomace POM-iss
The mass of solids, skins, pips (seeds) and stems left over after pressing (white wine production) or fermentation and pressing (red wine production).
Pomerol AOC POM-air-ohl
Important Bordeaux appellation lying in the eastern part of the region on the right bank of the Dordogne river. Merlot is the predominant variety, producing wines that are opulent and refined.
porter
A style of malty, dark beer that dates back to early 18th Century England.
pot still
Also know as Alembic, the original and most basic still consisting of a kettle or pot, a head, a condenser. This type of still is used in Cognac and Scotch whisky production.
potential alcohol
The amount of alcohol in grape must or wine that would result if all the sugars were completely fermented out.
Pouilly Fumé AOC PWEE foo-MAY
A white wine made entirely from sauvignon blanc grapes grown near the village of Pouilly-sur-Loire in France’s Loire valley. Bone dry and with a characteristic minerally, smoky aroma.
Pouilly-Fuissé AOC PWEE fwee-ZAY
White wine appellation in the Mâconnais district of Burgundy in France. The wines, which are from chardonnay exclusively, are full and ripe; however they may lack the elegance of the finer wines of the Côte de Beaune.
Powdery mildew
A fungal disease also known as Oidium that is native to North America and covers vines in a white, web-like coating.
Prädikatswein preh-dee-KATS-vine
German and Austrian term for "Quality Wine with Distinction" which classifies wine by the increasing ripeness level of the grapes or must weight.
primitivo pree-mee-TEE-voh
A red grape variety grown in the Apulia region of southern Italy, which produces full-bodied, high alcohol wines. In the past, these wines were considered as a very useful blending wine, however a genetic link with California’s zinfandel variety has led to new interest in primitivo as a varietal wine.
Primitivo di Manduria DOC pree-mee-TEE-voh dee man-DOO-ree-ah
Primitivo di Manduria DOC is a full-bodied wine from primitivo grapes grown in the Apulia region of south Italy.
Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale DOCG pree-mee-TEE-voh dee man-DOO-ree-ah DOLE-chay nat-yoo-RA-leh
Apulia's first DOCG was awarded in 2010 for the naturally sweet style; Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale. This wine is made from grapes that have achieved a very high level of ripeness, and have also dried naturally on the vine.
Prince Edward County VQA
The newest of Ontario’s recognized viticultural areas. The county lies on the north shore of Lake Ontario – an irregular peninsula that is virtually surrounded by water. A foundation of limestone soils bodes well for the quality of signature pinot noir and chardonnay, however a challenging climate requires intensive vineyard work to protect vines from winter damage.
Priorat DOCa pree-oh-RAT
One of Spain's two DOCa wine appellations. Garnacha (grenache) and carineña (carignan) are grown on unique soils comprised of low-nutrient slate and mica.
prohibition
Common term for the period of time in the United States (Volstead Act) and Canada (Temperance Act) when the sale, distribution and consumption of alcohol was illegal.
proof
Proof is a measure of the alcoholic strength of an alcoholic beverage. The term originated in Britain, where the strength of rum was “proved” by mixing the spirit with gunpowder, then applying a flame – if the mixture burned, it confirmed that the spirit was at least 57% alcohol, and was of acceptable strength. If the mixture refused to burn the spirit was deemed under proof.
Prosecco DOC pro-SEHK-coh
A fruity, tank fermented sparkling wine, made from the glera grape variety. The Prosecco DOC is shared between the regions of Veneto and Friuli regions of northeast Italy; however most of the production takes place in the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in the Veneto region. The modern trend is toward a drier wine that is a better match for food.
prugnolo gentile proo-N'YOH-loh jen-TEE-leh
Synonym for the Italian red grape variety sangiovese in the DOCG region Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Puligny poo-lee-N'YEE
Village in the Côte de Beaune district of Burgundy. Famous for the Grand Cru vineyard Montrachet; in 1879, the village added Montrachet to it's name, creating Puligny-Montrachet.
pupitre poo-PEE-truh
A rack used for riddling; the manual removal of spent yeast sediment in the production of traditional method sparkling wines.

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Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) KVAL-ee-tates-vine bee-SHTIM-teh an-BOW-geh-bee-teh
German wine classification for the lower category of "Quality Wine" that ensures wine must come from one of the 13 approved wine regions in Germany.

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racking
The process of transfering clear wine into another vessel after fermentation or aging, leaving the sediment behind; this technique is also used for aerating reds wines during maturation.
Rasteau AOC ras-TOE
Southern Rhône appellation producing wines similar, although lighter in style to Châteauneuf-du-Pape; known for very good value.
Rauchbier ROWHK-beer
German beer style where the malt is kilned over beechwood fires, imparting a distinctive smoky aroma and flavour.
refractometer
A device used to determine the ripeness of grapes by measuring the must weight or concentration of grape sugars in a sample of grape juice or must.
Régnié AOC ray-N'YAY
One of the newest Cru Beaujolais, recognized in 1988 and still seeking an identity. The wines range from light and easy-drinking to a more powerful style noted for structure and the forward expression of red currant and raspberry fruit.
remuage RUH-mu-ahj
The French term for the riddling process in the traditional method production of sparkling wine.
reposado (tequila) reh-po-SAD-oh
Reposado tequila is aged from 2 months to 12 months in oak casks of various size and capacity. As the tequila ages, it takes on more colour and the vanilla, spicy and caramel notes of oak.
Reserva reh-SAIR-vah
Spanish wine labelling term; aged 3 years, with a minimum of 1 year in oak.
residual sugar
Residual sugars are those sugars left in wine when fermentation is complete. Residual sugar (RS) is measured in grams of sugar per litre of wine, and along with acidity, alcohol and other factors this will determine how sweet a wine will taste.
Rheingau RYNE-gow
One of Germany’s 13 wine producing regions (anbaugebiete) and the home to some of the world’s best riesling wines. Famous estates such as Schloss Johannisberg are concentrated on the steep north bank of the Rhine River. Fine, elegant rieslings and flavourful, medium-bodied spätburgunder (pinot noir).
Ribera del Duero DOP ree-BEHR-ah del doo-EHR-oh
One of Spain’s highest profile wine regions, which follows the path of the Duero river in Spain’s rugged northern plateau. Tempranillo is the primary grape variety, and here it produces wines that are complex and full in body.
riddling
In traditional method sparkling wine production, a process performed by hand or with a gyropalette to shake the sediment created by a second fermentation into the bottle neck where it can be removed.
riesling REES-ling
Often described as the world’s great white grape variety. Its longevity and ability to express terroir are unmatched, but riesling is still trying to repair a reputation unfairly linked with low quality, overly sweet German wines. Riesling has a characteristic minerality, crisp acidity, and can be made in a range of styles.
right bank
That part of the Bordeaux wine region which falls on the right (north) bank of the Dordogne River. Includes Saint Emilion, Pomerol, Fronsac, Bourg and Blaye.
Rioja DOCa ree-OH-hah
Denomination of Origin which lies along the Ebro river in north central Spain. The first Spanish wine region to receive DO status (1925), elevated to DOCa in 1991.Tempranillo is the primary grape variety, which is blended with garnacha and others to create a balanced, elegant wine.
ripasso ree-PASS-oh
Ripasso refers to a winemaking technique that involves a second fermentation of Valpolicella wine. The second fermentation is started by adding an amount of the lees of Amarone production, or a proportion of partially dried grapes.
rondinella rohn-dee-NEH-lah
An important component of the Valpolicella blend (5-30%). Its high yields and resistance to disease are important commercially, and the grape’s thick skins protect the fruit as it undergoes the drying process for Amarone and Ripasso style wines.
rosato row-ZAT-toe
Italian term for rosé wine.
rosso ROW-so
Italian word for red used as a prefix for grape varieties and declassified regional wines.
roussanne roos-ANN
French white grape variety often partnered with marsanne in France’s Rhône Valley. More challenging in the vineyard than marsanne, it has lost favour over the years despite its edge in overall quality. Notably, roussanne is the key variety in white Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with good aging potential and an affinity for oak aging.
Roussillon ROO-see-ohn
A wine region in southern France located on the Spanish border and Mediterranean Sea. It produces red, white, rose and fortified sweet wines; 90 percent of all Vin Doux Naturel wine in France is produced here.
Rueda DOP roo-EH-dah
Spanish DO located in the Duero river basin to the west of Ribera del Duero. Known for fresh, aromatic and full-bodied white wines from the verdejo grape variety, which must comprise 85% of the blend.
rye
A grain that is tolerant to drought and poor soils, it is used in production of beer, Holland gin, vodka and notably Canadian and American rye whiskey.

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Saaz ZAHTS
The hops made famous by Pilsner beer adds earthy and spicy notes, with mild bitterness. Grown extensively in the Czech Republic.
sagrantino sah-gran-TEE-noh
An interesting red grape variety, indigenous to the Umbria region of central Italy, and notable for the DOCG Sagrantino di Montefalco. This variety’s reputation is for very firm tannins, however modern winemaking emphasizes a rounder style which is welcome for those who seek out sagrantino’s compelling aromas and flavours.
Saint Bris AOC sant-BREE
Appellation for white wine in the Burgundy region of France. Unique in that it is the only Burgundy AOC that allows sauvignon grapes. The varieties sauvignon blanc and sauvignon gris are both allowed.
Saint Emilion AOC sant ehm-eel-YOHN
Important right bank Bordeaux wine region. Merlot and cabernet franc are the dominant varieties here giving the wines a characteristic soft, rich texture. Chateaux are ranked in a classification system that identifies best producers as Grands Cru Classé.
Saint Estèphe AOC sant eh-STEFF
As the northernmost appellation of Bordeaux’s Haut-Médoc region, Saint Estèphe produces wines that are more austere and higher in acidity than its counterparts further south in the Médoc. To create softer, rounder wines, this area has a higher proportion of merlot planted.
Saint Julien AOC sant joo-lee-EHN
Smallest appellation in France's Haut-Médoc district. It has no first growths; however it has five outstanding second growths, and notably Saint Julien's classed growths account for 80% of its total production.
Saint-Amour AOC sant ah-MOOR
The northernmost Cru Beaujolais appellation, producing light-bodied red wines that are noted for their cherry fruit and spiciness. This region also produces a significant amount of white Beaujolais.
Sancerre AOC sahn-SAIR
The most well known of the appellations of France’s central Loire Valley wine region. Produces definitive quality sauvignon blanc and light-bodied aromatic red wines from the pinot noir variety.
sand
A term for particle size of alluvial sediments; commonly refers to granular material comprised of silica quartz.
sandstone
Sedimentary rock comprised of sand-sized particles of quartz.
sangiovese san-joe-VEH-seh
The most important red grape variety of central Italy. Its principal attribute is its late ripening, which can lead to high acidity and hard tannins in cool years. It stands on its own in wines such as Brunello de Montalcino, but is most often blended, with Chianti as a typical example.
Santa Barbara
Wine region of great potential in California’s Central Coast region. Plenty of sun, low rainfall, and cool ocean breezes create a moderately cool climate that is ideal for viticulture. Pinot noir and chardonnay are the leading varieties.
Santenay AOC san-ten-AY
An appellation and village in the Côte de Beaune district of Burgundy with twelve Premier Crus that produces mostly red wines.
Sardinia (Sardegna) sar-DIN-ee-yah (SAR-dehn-yah)
The second largest island in the Mediterranean, this Italian wine region is located off the west coast of the mainland. Main grape varieties are the red cannonau and the white vermentino. The only DOCG wine is Vermentino di Gallura.
Sauternes AOC so-TAIRN
Region in Bordeaux France which produces some of the world’s finest sweet white wines. Sémillon and sauvignon grapes are over-ripened, and botrytis cinerea (noble rot) concentrates sugars and acids in the dehydrated grapes. The wines are lusciously sweet, with complex aromas and flavours.
sauvignon blanc so-veen-yohn BLAHN
The characteristic vegetal aromas and flavours of sauvignon blanc usually stand out very clearly. The current benchmark for quality is New Zealand's Marlborough region, with best old world examples from France's Loire valley, and Bordeaux, where sauvignon blanc is blended with sémillon.
savagnin sah-va-NYAHN
Grape variety grown in France's Jura region, and the only grape used for Vin Jaune. Savagnin is a late ripener, and is notably high in acidity.
schist SHIST
Soil comprised of large-crystal, metamorphosed clay that is formed in thin layers similar to shale; found in vineyards of Alsace (France), Priorat (Spain), and Côte Rôtie (northern Rhône, France).
Scotch whisky distilleries
Western Highlands / Islands: Arran, Tobermory, Talisker, Oban, Highland Park. Northern Highlands: Old Pulteney, Glenmorangie, Clynelish. Central, Southern and Eastern Highlands: Dalwhinnie, Glen Garioch, Edradour. Speyside: The Macallan, Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet, Balvenie. Lowlands: Auchentoshan, Glenkinchie, Bladnoch. Islay: Ardbeg, Bowmore, Laphroig, Lagavulin. Campbeltown: Springbank, Glen Scotia, Longrow.
secco SECK-oh
Italian word meaning dry.
Sekt SECT
German term for quality sparkling wine accepted by the European Union.
Selection (Germany)
A relatively new (introduced in 2000) category of German wines, designating dry varietal wines that are typical of their vintage and vineyard site. Subject to restricted yields, hand harvesting and additional sensory testing.
Sélection des Grains Nobles (SGN) Say-lek-syon day grahn NOB-luh
A blending partner in France’s Bordeaux region, bringing richness to bolster sauvignon blanc’s crisp, lean character. Susceptibility to botrytis cinerea (noble rot) has made sémillon the primary variety of Bordeaux’s legendary sweet wines, such as Sauternes.
sémillon say-me-YOHN
The late-ripening white grape variety sercial is one of Madeira's noble varieties; high in acidity, it makes the driest and lightest of all Madeira styles.
sercial sehr-see-ALL
A white, French hybrid grape that is disallowed under EU quality wine designations but is growing successfully in the cooler climate of England and Canada.
seyval blanc Say-val BLAHN
French hybrid variety which thrives in cooler climates, and has been significant in Ontario for provincially designated varietal wines. Once one of the mainstays of the Ontario vineyard, but nowadays rarer as growers focus on vinifera varieties.
Sherry ( Jerez-Xérès-Sherry DO) SHAIR-ee
Sherry is a term derived from the Spanish word Jerez (pronounced heh-RETH); a region in southern Spain renowned for its fortified wines, which range from bone dry to luxuriously sweet. The best vineyards are situated on the region's famous chalky, white albariza soils.
Short Hills Bench VQA
The Short Hills Bench is one of the Niagara Peninsula’s ten sub-appellations. It is a shelf-like plateau that juts out from the face of the Niagara Escarpment, and in this area the benchlands have been carved into a series of gently rolling hills by numerous streams. The slopes of the hills allow vineyards to be oriented for maximum sun exposure.
Sicily (Sicilia) SIS-uh-lee (see-CHEE'lyah)
A large island in the Mediterranean and a very productive Italian wine region. Grape varieties include the red nero d'avola and the white catarratto. Historically the most famous wine from Sicily is Marsala.
Similkameen VQA sim-ILK-ah-meen
The Similkameen wine region lies in a long, narrow valley just west of the Okanagan. The climate is dry and windy, with summer heat trapped by the bordering steep mountains. Most planted red varieties include merlot, gamay and pinot noir. Chardonnay, pinot blanc and pinot gris are the leading white varieties.
Skye (malt whisky) SKY
Island whiskies vary considerably in style, however Skye’s sole distillery, Talisker produces a single malt whisky that embodies the full-bodied, spicy and bold style that is associated with the Western Islands.
Soave DOC so'AH-veh
One of Italy’s most important DOC white wines, Soave lies in northern Italy’s Veneto region. Garganega is the principal grape variety, which is prone to high yields if not carefully managed. Soave is light to medium-bodied, with citrus and tropical fruit flavours often underscored by a nutty almond note.
solera so-LAIR-ah
In the production of Sherry, a system fractional blending which combines new wines with a succession of older wines in order to maintain consistency in style.
Sonoma son-OH-mah
Sonoma County is one of California’s important north coast viticultural areas. The proximity of the Pacific Ocean creates a moderate climate, with cool nights and warm days. Chardonnay is the most planted, followed by cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. Cool coastal areas are proving ideal for sparkling wine production.
sour mash
The term for a process in distilling that uses mash from an older batch to start the fermentation of a new batch.
sparging
1) The process of removing oxygen from wine bottles or winery equipment with an inert gas. 2) A step in brewing where hot liquid is sprayed over the mash to effectively rinse out as much residual sugar as possible.
spätlese SHPATE-lee-zuh
Meaning "late harvest," a term used in Austria and Germany in the hierarchical classification of wine quality and style.
specific gravity
The density of wort (beer) or must (wine) measured with a hydrometer or refractometer; it is the ratio of the mass of a liquid to the mass of an equivalent volume of water at standard temperature and pressure. This value is used to determine sugar content.
Speyside (malt whisky)
Over half of all Scotland’s distilleries are located in Speyside. Originating here are many of the most popular and well known single malts, which fall into two categories; full-bodied whiskies with character imparted by aging in sherry casks, and a lighter, fruity and floral style.
spumante spoo-MAN-teh
Italian term for effervescent or sparkling wine.
steen
South African name for the white grape variety chenin blanc.
Stellenbosch WO STELL-en-bosh
Centuries of winemaking and a wide diversity of terroir make this one of South Africa’s most important wine growing regions. Known primarily for the quality of blended red wines, this region grows virtually all of the noble varieties.
stout
A style of ale that is deep brown/black in colour from barley that has been heavily toasted.
sub-appellations (Niagara Peninsula)
Ontario has recognized denominations of origin in the Niagara Peninsula viticultural area. Ten distinct sub-appellations have been created based on soils, topography, climate and local experience. Use of the appellations on wine labels is strictly regulated by the Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA).
sugar cane
A perennial grass that is native to South Asia and brought to Central America by Europeans in the 15th Century; the main source for sugar production and its by-product molasses, the base material for rum production.
sulphur dioxide (SO2)
A compound created by burning elemental sulphur, widely used in winemaking as a preservative; it prevents oxidation and kills unwanted yeasts and bacteria. Excessive SO2 is considered a wine fault, and is identified by "struck match" aromas and a noticeable irritation of the membranes of the nose.
sultana
A white grape variety commonly know as Thompson Seedless, used primarily in raisin production.
Superiore soo-pee-reh-OR-reh
Italian classification term for DOC wines of higher quality due to increased alcoholic strength and longer aging.
sur lie syur-LEE
French term for "on the lees" where white wine has been left in contact with spent yeast cells that are left over after fermentation resulting in a wine with increased body, flavour and complexity.
sustainable viticulture
Winemaking practices which ensure the quality and health of vineyard soil, workers and ecosystems, reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, and maintain economic profitability.
sweet
Detected in the mouth, most noticeably at the front of the tongue, when sugars are present; opposite of dry.
sylvaner/silvaner zil-VAH-nehr
This dependable white variety is best known for the light, dry and earthy wines of Germany’s Franken region, bottled in the traditional flask-shaped "bocksbeutel." In France's Alsace region, sylvaner is prized for its light, thirst quenching character.
syrah / shiraz see-RAH (shee-RAZ)
Syrah has its origins in the south of France, and with its current popularity worldwide, has become the fifth most planted red grape variety. Makes powerful and structured wines in France's northern Rhône valley, and generous, fruit laden and concentrated wines in Australia's Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.

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tails
In distillation, certain compounds have a lower boiling point than ethanol, and these will be the first to condense as the temperature of the still rises. This is known as the heads of the distillation. The heart of the distillation is a temperature range where ethanol (potable alcohol) is in highest concentration. When the alcohol percentage starts to decrease, the distillation is entering a phase called the tails, and this too is separated.
tank method
A sparkling wine making process where a second fermentation occurs in a closed tank, also known as the charmat method or cuve close.
tannat tah-NAT
With nineteenth century immigration to South America by French and Spanish people of Basque origin, this grape variety became the foundation of the emerging wine industry in Uruguay. Tannat makes a wine with intense colour, full body and plenty of tannic structure.
tannin TAN-in
Tannins originate in the skins, seeds and stems of grapes, and to a lesser extent from the wood of barrels; these compounds are responsible for the dry, astringent feeling in the mouth. Tannins are an important factor in the aging of wines, acting as a natural preservative.
tartrates
Crystalline sediments, also referred to as "wine diamonds" are harmless and occur in wine when the potassium salt of tartaric acid separates from a wine and condenses.
Taurasi DOCG tow-RA-see
Italian appellation for wines from aglianico, recognized as south Italy’s premier red grape variety. It finds its best expression on mineral-rich volcanic soils in the Campania region, near Mount Vesuvius.
Tavel AOC tah-VEL
The southernmost appellation in the Rhone Valley of France; production is entirely rosé wine made from up to 60 percent grenache.
Temperance Act
The Canada Temperance Act was enacted in 1878, and provided an option for municipalities to declare prohibition based on a plebiscite . Ontario and Alberta passed their prohibition legislation in 1916 - repeal occurred in 1927.
temperature controlled fermentation
Crucial to quality wine production; warming may be required to induce fermentation and cooling to slow down fermentation and emphasize fresh fruit flavours.
tempranillo tem-prah-NEE-yoh
Spain’s best native red grape variety and the star of regions such as Rioja and Ribera del Duero. It is noted for its aromas of strawberries, herbs, leather and tobacco; its affinity for oak ageing is revealed by the vanilla notes that are often present. In Portugal, it is known as tinta roriz, and is a key variety for Port wines.
tequila te-KEE-lah
Tequila is Mexico's signature distilled spirit, made from the fermented and distilled sap of the blue agave plant.
terroir tair-WAHR
A French term for all the vineyard characteristics that combine to give a wine its geographical typicity: soil, climate, vineyard orientation.
thermovinification
In thermovinification (also known as hot pressing) grape must is heated to 80°-85° C for a short period of time to assist in the extraction of colour and tannins.
thompson seedless
The California name for the white grape variety sultana; the most widely planted variety in California, they primarily are dried for raisins and also distillation or grape concentrate.
thujone TOO-zh?n
An organic compound that has an odour of menthol and was believed to cause hallucinations; wormwood contains the most abundant levels of thujone and was an essential ingredient in absinthe.
thumper
A secondary stage in a Bourbon whiskey still. A second distillation occurs when the alcohol vapours from the first distillation pass through a liquid and the latent heat, released instantly when the vapour condenses, provides heat to initiate a second distillation.
tinta roriz tchin-ta hor-EESH
Red grape variety (known as tempranillo in Spain) grown in Portugal’s Douro Valley and one of the leading approved grape varieties for Port. As a table wine, roriz grown in the Douro produces wines that are rich, aromatic and tannic.
Tokaji TOK-eye
The region of Tokaj in Hungary is home to one of the world’s most renowned sweet wines. A selective harvest of grapes affected by botrytis cinerea (noble rot) is used in wines that vary in the level of sweetness and richness on a scale named after the puttony, a traditional harvest basket.
top fermented
A method of brewing beer that employs yeast which rises to the top of the fermenting wort; this style of fermentation is used to produce ale.
torrontés tohr-ROHN-tays
A white grape variety with many sub-varieties that is grown in Argentina and at best it is aromatic, heady, spicy and refreshing; a grape by the same name is grown in Spain, but is a different cultivar.
touriga franca too-REE-gah fran-ka
One of the five major Port varieties grown in Portugal’s Douro Valley, touriga franca brings finesse and forward floral aromas to the blend for Port wines. It is seen increasingly in unfortified table wine, often as a blending partner for its weightier counterparts tinta roriz and touriga nacional.
touriga nacional too-REE-gah NASS-yoh-nal
Portuguese red grape variety, and one of the five major red varieties approved for Port. Although many consider touriga nacional to be the finest of the Port varieties, it is not extensively planted. In the past its characteristic low yields have led growers to replant with more productive varieties.
traditional method
A European Union designated term for a sparkling wine making process, also known as méthode traditionnelle and classic method that painstakingly involves a second bottle fermentation, racking, riddling and disgorgement.
transfer method
A method of producing sparkling wine where the second fermentation occurs in the bottle; the wine is then transferred to a tank to separate deposits before rebottling.
Trappist brewery
Breweries inside Trappist monasteries located in Belgium and Holland which produce beers that are top fermented, unpasteurized and bottle conditioned.
trebbiano treh-B'YAHN-oh
Trebbiano refers to a family of white grape varieties that are used for a large proportion of Italy’s white DOC wines. It has high acidity and is quite neutral in aroma and flavour. The sub-variety Trebbiano di Soave (Trebbiano di Lugana), is an exception, known for wines of weight and character in the Veneto and Lombardia regions.
triage tree-AHJ
A French term for sorting grapes according to quality during harvest.
tries (French, plural) TREE
Multiple passes through the vineyards; for example in Sauternes where pickers will select by hand botrytis affected grapes in several stages.
Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) TROH-ken-beer-en-OWS-lee-zuh
Trockenbeeren means "dry grapes" and Auslese means "selected harvest"; The grapes have been shriveled by botrytis and are the highest ripeness level (excluding Eiswein) in the German quality wine category Prädikatswein.
tuffeau too-FOH
A porous limestone with good drainage found in the middle Loire Valley in France; tuffeau blanc stone was used to construct many of the chateaux of the Loire.
Tuscany (Toscana) TUS-kan-ee, T?S-cah-nah
Italian wine region in central Italy that is home to many famous sangiovese based wines. Notable DOCGs include Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Twenty Mile Bench VQA
The Twenty Mile Bench is one of the Niagara Peninsula’s ten sub-appellations. It is a shelf-like plateau that juts out from the face of the Niagara Escarpment, and in this area there is a unique double bench structure. The complex topography of this area creates varied and ideal sites for quality wine-growing.

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ugni blanc oo-nee BLAHNK
Grown throughout the south of France, this grape variety is used in blended white table wines. Most important is its role in the Cognac and Armagnac regions where it produces the highly acidic base wines for brandy production. This high-yielding variety is the same as the trebbiano of Italy.
ullage ULL-ahj
The space in a closed bottle of wine between the wine surface and the stopper; space in a barrel of wine also known as "ullage space" or "head space" and contains alcohol and water vapours and carbon dioxide.
umami oo-MAH-mee
A Japanese term coined in 1907 for a fifth flavour which comes from glutamic acid and is described as a delicious, savoury sensation.
uva di troia / nero di troia OO-va dee TROY-ah
In the southern Italy region of Puglia, this little-known red grape variety is gaining acclaim. The variety is challenging to work with, with low yields and the tendency to ripen late. It yields wines of deep colour, with abundant tannins and high alcohol. It has the capacity to age well, and can accommodate the spice of new oak.

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Valdadige DOC val-DA-dee-jeh
Italian DOC covering most of the Adige valley. Although the boundaries extend across three regions (Veneto, Trentino and Alto Adige), the Valdadige DOC is used primarily by producers from Trentino. A wide range of styles is produced from many grape varieties, both red and white.
Valpolicella DOC val-po-lee-CHEH-lah
A medium-bodied red wine produced from mainly corvina, molinara and rondinella grape varieties. The DOC zone for Valpolicella is located just north of the city of Verona in northern Italy's Veneto region.
Valpolicella Ripasso val-po-lee-CHEH-lah ree-PASS-oh
Ripasso refers to a winemaking technique that involves a second fermentation of Valpolicella wine with the lees of Amarone production, or frequently nowadays, the addition of a quantity of partially dried grapes.
Vancouver Island VQA
Local climatic conditions on the south part of Vancouver Island are well suited to viticulture. While there is a high level of precipitation in the months from November to April, the generally mild maritime climate presents a low risk of frost. The summers are warm and dry, allowing good ripening of varieties such as pinot noir, gamay, müller-thurgau and gewürztraminer.
vanillin
Aromatic compound occurring naturally in grapes in trace amounts, though it is primarily contributed by toasted oak barrels during maturation; adds a vanilla note and complexity to oak-aged wine and spirits.
VDQS
Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure: French wine classification higher than Vin de Pays but below AOP. This term was dropped from French wine law in 2011.
vegan VEE-gan
One who abstains from the use of animal products. A vegan wine would be made with fining or filtering agents that were not of animal origin; one such material is bentonite, which is a type of clay.
Vendange Tardive vahn-DAHNJ tar-DEEV
French term for late harvest, a specific label name for a wine from Alsace that is produced from ripe grapes without chaptalization.
vendemmia ven-DEM-yah
Italian for harvest; also refers to a vintage year.
Veneto VEHN-eh-toe
Northern Italian wine region and one of the largest by-volume producers of wine in the country. Veneto is home to the popular wines Soave and Valpolicella, the dried-grape apassimento style wines such as Amarone, and the light-bodied sparkling wine Prosecco.
verdelho vair-DAY-ho
Portuguese grape variety which is one of the noble varieties for the fortified wine Madeira. It also gives its name to a Madeira style, with verdelho falling between the very dry sercial, and the richer bual. Its high acidity is now valued in blended non-fortified table wines, and as a varietal wine verdelho has had some success in Australia.
verdicchio vair-DEE-kyoh
The best white variety of central Italy's Marche region. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica have both been elevated to DOCG status, reflecting the improvement in quality of modern verdicchio. The wines have delicate aromas, medium body and flavours of citrus and almond.
vernaccia vair-NATCH-ah
An Italian white grape variety that produces crisp, citrusy wines that can show good body and depth. Responsible for one of Italy’s best known wines, Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG from the region surrounding the medieval Tuscan town of San Gimignano.
vidal vee-DAHL
A hardy French hybrid which is popular in Ontario and New York State. While it is used for light and fruity table wines, it is most well known as the mainstay of Ontario’s Icewine industry. Vidal Icewines are sweet, rich and concentrated, with crisp acidity that gives the wines balance and verve.
vigneron vee-nair-ROHN
A grape grower in France; from the French word "vigne" meaning vine.
villard noir vee-lahr NWAHR
A red, French hybrid grape that was once planted widely throughout France, but has now been virtually eliminated. Its natural resistance to downy mildew made this variety popular in the wine regions of northeastern United States, such as New York State's Finger Lakes region.
Vin de Pays vahn de pay-EE
One tier above Vin de Table, the second level of quality classification for French wine.
vin jaune vahn-zh?wn
Specialty wine of France's Jura region, made from the highly acidic local variety called savagnin. Wines are aged in barrels, where a film of yeast (similar to the flor in Sherry production) forms on the surface of the wines. As the wines mature, the veil of yeast protects them as they develop unique spicy, nutty flavours.
Vin Santo veen SAN-to
A dried grape wine made in Tuscany. Much of the production is still on a small scale, with hand-harvested grapes (trebbiano, malvasia) dried under the rafters of farm buildings or homes.
Vin Villa
Canada's first commercial winery, established on Pelee Island in 1866 and known for its wines made from the catawba grape variety. Vin Villa became part of another company, the Pelee Island Wine and Vineyards Company, which operated until World War One.
Vinemount Ridge VQA
Vinemount Ridge is one of the Niagara Peninsula’s ten sub-appellations. This is the only appellation lying above and south of the ridge of the Niagara Escarpment. A slightly shorter growing season is balanced by excellent sun exposure on south facing slopes.
Vinho Verde DOC vee-noh VAIRD
Denomination in the Minho region in northwest Portugal. Primarily white wines are made, in a light, crisp and spritzy style. The grape varieties trajadura, loureiro and alvarinho are used, with the latter recognized as the highest quality.
vinification
Vinification is the term for all the steps involved in the process of winemaking, starting with the selection of freshly harvested grapes, and ending with the bottling of a finished wine.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG vee-noh NOH-bee-leh dee mohn-tay-pul-CHAN-oh
One of the original DOCG wines of Italy, this dry red wine from the town of Montepulciano, in the region of Tuscany, is produced from at least 70% and up to 100% of the grape variety sangiovese, which is known locally as prugnolo gentile.
vintage
Referring to a particular year or harvest; a wine made entirely from grapes grown and harvested in a single year.
viognier vee-oh-N'YAY
This aromatic white grape variety reaches a peak of quality in France’s northern Rhône wine region, and it’s exotic appeal has led to plantings elsewhere, including the south of France, and many new world regions such as California, British Columbia and Ontario.
viticulture
Viticulture is a broad term which refers to the science, the study and the agricultural production of grapes. This is the part of the wine industry that involves all aspects of grape growing, from site selection and planting of vines, to the management of harvest.
Vitis (vinifera, labrusca, etc) VEE-tus
Vitis is the genus (group of species) of woody vine plants that includes all the grapevines.
Vitis rupestris VEE-tus ru-PES-tris
Vine species native to North America commonly used as rootstock for Vitis vinifera and in the development of hybrid grape varieties.
Vitis vinifera VEE-tus vin-IF-er-ah
European (and Middle Eastern) grape vine species from which most of the world's quality wine is produced.
Volnay AOC vole-NAY
AOP located in the Côte du Beaune region of Burgundy, France that produces only red wines from pinot noir and contains 30 Grand Crus.
Volstead Act
The United States 18th Amendment was ratified by this Act in 1919 which brought into effect almost 14 years of prohibition.
Vosne-Romanée AOC vohn roh-man-NAY
A village in Burgundy's Côte D'Or region that produces red wine from pinot noir that are reputed for their excellent structure and great finesse.
Vouvray AOC voo-VRAY
An important appellation in the Loire Valley of France that is famous for its dry and sweet white wines made exclusively from chenin blanc.
VQA
VQA stands for the Vintner’s Quality Alliance, the body that is the wine authority for Ontario and British Columbia. The VQA administers and enforces provincial wine legislation, and engages in public education and the promotion of the appellation of origin system.
VS (Cognac)
The basic age/quality classification for the brandies of Cognac meaning Very Special with a minimum aging requirement of two years.
VSOP (Cognac)
The second highest age/quality classification for the brandies of Cognac meaning Very Special Old Pale with a minimum aging requirement of four years.

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W

wheat beer
A lightly coloured beer produced from 50-70% malted wheat; the balance of grains used is typically malted barley.
wort WERT
The liquid comprised of grain extract (converted starch sugars) and brewing water that will be mixed with hops and boiled before fermentation in the brewing process for all beer styles.

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X

XO (Cognac)
The highest age/quality classification for the brandies of Cognac meaning Extra Old; the youngest cognac in the blend has a minimum aging requirement of six years. On April 1st 2016, this requirement will be increased to 10 years.

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Y

yeast
Single-celled fungi that initiate fermentation by converting sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

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Z

zinfandel ZIN-fan-dell
Zinfandel is California’s signature red variety. The popular medium sweet blush style is made by pressing the grapes and running the juice off for fermentation after a short period of skin contact. Deep coloured, spicy and full-bodied red wines show that zinfandel has a more serious side - highly concentrated wines made from old vines have achieved cult status.
Zubrowka zhoo-BROV-kah
Zubrowka bison grass vodka is a Polish vodka infused with flavourings based on bison grass, an aromatic plant that grows in the forests of Poland and Belarus.
zweigelt t'SVY-gelt
Austria’s most important and widely planted red grape variety, producing wines that show forward cherry fruit accented by peppery notes and firm tannins. Zweigelt is well-suited to cool climates, and has shown good results in Ontario and British Columbia.