Sitting amongst seasoned wine enthusiasts and listening to them discuss wines can be quite confusing if you are not familiar with some of the terms and phrases used in the winemaking and drinking world. It might sound like they are speaking a foreign language you never learned which is why we have put together this list of some wine terminology and their meanings to help you understand and contribute meaningfully to the next wine themed conversation you find yourself involved in.

Acidity – the crisp part of the wine that kicks up your saliva glands

Aroma – the scent of a young wine which is different from the bouquet

Aging – increasing the flavor and taste of wines by keeping them in barrels, tanks or bottles for a period of time

Balance – when a wines components of tannin, acids, sugars, and alcohol are harmonized

Blend – wines made by mixing more than one grape variety

Body – the weight and fullness of wine when it is in your mouth

Bordeaux – a region of France that produces some of the best blends of wine

Complex – wines that have different flavors and nuances

Dry – the puckering sensation caused by tannins when you drink a glass of wine with high tannin levels

Fermentation – the process of converting sugars in grapes to alcohol

Flavors – smells and odors perceived in your mouth

Full bodied- wines that have high alcohol and flavors

Herbaceous – wines that have flavors of herbs

Hot –  used to describe a wine that has high alcohol content

Length- the amount of time the flavors of the wine stays in your mouth after you swallow

Mature – a wine that has been aged and is ready to drink

Mouthfeel – how a mouthful of wine feels on your palate

Noble rot – Botrytis

Oaky – the flavors of coconut, vanilla, spices, and coffee gotten from barrel aging wines

Phylloxera- an insect that kills grapes roots

Spicy – used to denote flavors like black pepper, saffron, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaf

Sweet- used to describe wines that have a sugar content that is noticeable in the mouth and nose

Tannins – the compound in wines that leaves a dry and bitter feeling in your mouth

Terrior – a French word for the geographic characteristics of a vineyard

Texture- the way wine feels on your palate

Vegetal- used to describe wines that have the taste of fresh or cooked vegetables like green pepper or grass

Vinification-  everything involved in the process of making wines

Vitis vinifera- a species of wine that compasses 99% of the wines in the world

Vintage – a vineyard’s yield in a single season, also used to describe the year a wine was bottled

Yeast – a microorganism that occurs naturally and is also produced commercially that converts sugars to alcohol

Yields – the number of grapes a vineyard produces

Young – a wine with fresh flavors that has been bottled within a year of its production


These are just a few of the terminologies used in wine circles and if you study them, in no time you will be speaking and understanding wine terms like a seasoned expert on all things concerning wines.