Wine Definitions and Terminology

Article Highlight: Crash Course in Aperitifs

An aperitif is an alcoholic drink, such as wine, that is served before a meal. It stimulates the appetite and may be served alone or with light hors d'œuvres, such as cheese, antipasti, bread, or pâté. Keep reading »

Browse Topics in Wine Definitions and Terminology

Toasting with white wine

Wine, winemaking, and wine tasting all have their own terminology, so knowing wine definitions and other important information about wine can be useful. That way, whether you're ordering wine at a restaurant, visiting a winery, or just chatting about wine with other enthusiasts, you'll understand any terms someone drops.

Wine Definitions Are Part of Wine Education

While you don't need to understand a thing about wine to enjoy drinking it, understanding wine terminology, definitions, and concepts can be useful information that may enhance your enjoyment. There's a lot of terminology surrounding wine, from definitions of words that describe the cultivation of grapes, to processes and equipment used in winemaking, to terms used in wine tasting notes that describe a wine's characteristics. While you don't need to know the definition of all these words to enjoy how wine tastes, it can be helpful if you're searching for wine ratings and reviews, ordering wine from a menu, reading wine publications such as Wine Enthusiast or Wine Spectator, or visiting a wine shop or winery.

Viticulture Terminology

When discussing viticulture (the cultivation of grapes), you'll hear a number of wine terms such as varietal, appellation, and terroir that provide important information about what grapes are grown, where they are grown, and how the soil, place, and earth where the grapes are grown affect a wine's characteristics. Knowing these things can both deepen your appreciation of wine and help you discover which types of wine you are likely to enjoy before you take your first taste.

Winemaking Terminology

While some people prefer to just drink and enjoy wine, others like to take a peek under the hood and see how wine is made. If you are in the latter group, then it's helpful to understand winemaking terminology so you know what the winemakers are saying when they discuss processes such as chaptalization, malo-lactic fermentation, or méthode champenoise. LoveToKnow can help you make sense of these terms so you can discuss wine with the winemaker in order to truly understand what goes into creating your favorites.

Describing Wine's Characteristics

Finally, when you're tasting wine, it's helpful to understand the terms that are used to describe wine's characteristics. While it isn't necessary to have a sommelier's knowledge of wine characteristics, understanding some basics can help you further identify the qualities you enjoy in a wine so you are better able to buy the perfect bottle in a wine shop or order exactly what you want at a restaurant.

When You Know More, You Enjoy More

It's perfectly fine to enjoy wine without knowing a thing more other than the wine tastes great. However, understanding wine terms can help you choose wines more effectively, and it can deepen your appreciation. LoveToKnow is here to help give you just the right amount of knowledge about wine definitions and terms, whether you want to know a little or a lot.

Wine Definitions and Terminology