Understanding the Language of Wine: 


For every wine professional, it is important to know wine terminology as it is an integral part of the industry. These terms can be used to describe the process of winemaking, its origin, style, colour, aromas or taste. So, understanding wine terminology is an important part of wine education, although it can seem pretty intimidating.

Remember the first time you went to buy a bottle of wine and felt overwhelmed because of all the words on the labels of wine bottles? The task felt intimidating partly because there are so many varieties of wine and partly because each bottle had a different set of words that gave away nothing about its contents, or so it felt at that time. However, many lovers don’t get around to learning wine terminology as they feel it is only relevant to wine tasters.

Yes, wine tasters are expected to be experts in wine terminology as it helps them record their tasting experience and share it with others. But basic wine terminology is very much a part of the wine culture- it is attached to every aspect of the industry. From winemaking, retail and service to wine writing and buying wine for yourself, there are some terms that’ll always be a part of this experience.

For instance, if you go to purchase a sparkling wine, the seller might ask if you like brut or demi-sec. Now, if you know the meanings of these words (which we will discuss later in this article) you can confidently say what you want. But if you don’t, you might have to spend time with the seller to understand different styles or trust his judgement.

From a career perspective, wine terminologies help you improve your services to consumers as you are able to understand their queries and efficiently respond to them. Besides, this is a language shared by all wine lovers. Even if you do not plan to use it for professional purposes or to impress your friends, you can simply cherish this knowledge and know that there is a cohort out there which shares it.

While you can always learn more, here are some wine terminologies for you to start with:

🍷 Acidity: A refreshing sour or tart-like taste in a wine due to the presence of citric acid, malic acid and tartaric acid, that usually makes you salivate.

🍷Tannins: Phenolic compounds naturally present in the wine which provide balance, structure and texture to the wine. Tannins cause a dryness sensation in your mouth due to astringency.

🍷Fruit Forward: A wine with sweet fruit flavours, but isn’t essentially sweet in taste.

🍷Bone Dry: A wine with no sweetness due to the absence of any residual sugar.

🍷Dry: A wine with one to 10 grams of sugar per litre.

🍷Off-Dry: A wine that has 10-35 grams of residual sugar per litre.

🍷Sweet: A wine that contains 35 to 120 grams of sugar per litre. Mostly, dessert wines fall in this category. However, for very sweet wines, the range can be between 120 to 220 grams of sugar per litre.

🍷Extra-Brut- A bone-dry style of sparkling wine which contains no sugar at all.

🍷Brut- A dry sparkling wine that contains some sweetness.

🍷Extra Dry- A sparkling wine that is sweeter than Brut but has less sugar than Demi-sec.

🍷Doux- A sweet sparkling wine with noticeable sugar content that is mostly paired with desserts.

🍷Silky finish: A wine with a smooth finish

🍷Spicy finish: A wine with an intense finish that has heat or burn similar to horseradish, mustard, wasabi or ginger.

🍷Bitter finish: A wine with pronounced bitterness due to high levels of tannin.

🍷Balance: Harmony between different characteristics of wine like acidity, tannins, fruitiness etc.

🍷Blend: Process of combining two or more varieties of grapes after they have undergone fermentation.

🍷Body: Weight of wine on your palate. Wine can be light, medium or heavy-bodied.

🍷Bouquet or Nose: The combination of aromas present in a wine.

🍷Legs: Rivulets of wine that flow down the side of the glass after you stop swirling it. A wine can have good legs due to high levels of alcohol or sugar.

🍷Steely: A wine that has mineral characteristics and is acidic in nature.

🍷Terroir: Factors that influence the character of a wine, like soil and climate.

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