Wine Vocabulary


AnbaugebietGerman – Designated quality wine region

AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlee) – French – The name of the top regions in France’s regional classification system – this is above AOP, PDO or IGT regional wines.

AssemblageFrench – Blending process of wines from separate vineyards

AusbruchAustrian – A sweet wine category of wines made from dried grapes

AusleseGerman – Pradikat category for wines that are made using late-harvest and Botrytis-infected grapes resulting in medium-sweet to sweet wines

Azienda AgricolaItalian – A winery that uses solely estate grapes



BatonnageFrench – Process of stirring lees

BeerenausleseGerman – Pradikat category for wines that are made using solely Botrytis-infected grapes resulting in sweet wines

BiancoItalian – White wine

BlancFrench – White wine

BodegaSpanish - Winery

BotteItalian – Large oak barrels made in sizes up to 160hL 

Botrytis – A form of rot that sucks out the water found in grapes and concentrates the sugars resulting in sweet wines, also called ‘Noble Rot’

BrancoPortugeuse – White wine

BrutFrench – Dry and used mainly in Sparkling wines



Cap ClassiqueSouth African – Bottle-fermented sparkling wines 

Carbonic Maceration – Process of fermenting the grapes in their whole form, without pressing them, and under carbonic gas/pressure resulting in light, fruity wines. Most famously used in Beajoulais, France 

Cask – another term for ‘oak barrel’

CavaSpain – Bottle-fermented sparkling wines

ChateauFrench – Estate in Bordeaux or Southern France

ClassicoItalian – The historical sub-region of a larger region

ColheitaPortugal – Vintage 

CremantFrench – A lightly sparkling wine that is made via the bottle-fermented process. Best examples are made in the regions of Cremant d’Alsace and Cremant de Bourgogne

CrianzaSpain – Wines that have spent a minimum of a year ageing in oak

Cru BourgeoisFrench – A rank of Bordeaux chateaux below Cru Classe

Cru ClasseFrench – Highest rank of Bordeaux chateaux



DegorgementFrench – also called ‘disgorgement’ is the process of removing the yeast sediment from bottle-fermented sparkling wines

Demi-SecFrench – Wines that are medium-dry in sweetness

DOC/GItalian – The Italian equivalent to France’s AOC, a regional classification. DOCs are above IGTs and DOCGs make up the top of pyramid

DolceItalian – Sweet wines

DouxFrench – Sweet wines

DulceSpanish – Sweet wines



EinzellageGerman – Individual vineyard

EisweinGerman – The German name for the sweet wines: Ice Wines

En PrimeurFrench – The process of buying wines in advance of their release

Erste LageGerman – Top vineyards in Germany

Erstes GewachsGerman – Dry white wines made from an Erste Lage



FlorSpanish – The layer of yeasts that are formed in the production of Sherry 

FrizzanteItalian – Slightly sparkling 



Gran-ReservaSpanish – Wines that have spent a minimum of five years ageing in oak 

Grosses Gewachs or 'GG'German – Dry wines (not necessarily whites) made from an Erste Lage

GrosslageGerman – A group of adjoining vineyards



HalbtrockenGerman – Wines of medium-dry sweetness



KabinettGerman – Pradikat category for wines that have been made from ripe or extremely ripe grapes resulting in wines just off-dry



Lees – The name given to the yeast cells after they have been used for fermentation – they are now dead but still impart flavour and are often stirred around the wines in barrel to give yeasty, nutty and biscuity flavours

LiquoreuxFrench – A very sweet wine made from Botrytis-infected grapes 



Malolactic Fermentation (MLF) – a secondary fermentation that converts malic acid into lactic acid resulting in buttery flavours and a rounder texture

Metodo ClassicoItalian – Bottle-fermented sparkling wines

MillesimeFrench – Vintage

Mise en bouteille au chateauFrench – Bottled at the chateau, or domaine

MoelleuxFrench – Wines that are medium-sweet 

Must – The name given to pressed grape juice yet to be fermented



Noble Rot – a common name for Botrytis



PassitoItalian – Sweet wines made from grapes that have been dried

PDO – Protected Designation of Origin, a labelling term within the EU used for wines made in a certain region – regions are given a PDO status and wines made in those regions are credited with a PDO sticker 

PetillantFrench – Lightly sparkling

Petit ChateauFrench – A term used in Bordeaux for chateaux that don’t fall under one of the classifications: Cru Classe or Cru Bourgeois

PradikatGerman – The categories of wines made by the VDP group of winemakers across Germany, they go up from Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese and Trockenberrenauslese, from dry-sweet. Also used in Austria

PuttonyosHungarian – A measure of sweetness used in Tokaji production



QuintaPortuguese – A wine estate or vineyard



ReciotoItalian – Synonomous with ‘passito’

ReservaSpanish – A wine that has been aged for a minimum of two or three years in oak depending on the region it comes from 

Reserve – There is no legal distinction, often used by marketers to reference wines that are of superior quality or have been aged slightly longer than the rest of their range

RiservaItalian – A wine that has been aged for a minimum of two or three years depending on the region it comes from – not necessarily in oak

RosadoSpanish – Rose wine

RosatoItalian – Rose wine

RossoItalian – Red wine

RougeFrench – Red wine



SecFrench – Dry wine

SeccoItalian – Dry wine

SecoPortuguese and Spanish – Dry wine 

Selection de Grains NoblesFrench – Term used in Alsace for wines that have been made from Botrytis-infected grapes resulting in sweet wines

SemiseccoItalian – Wines of medium-dry sweetness

Semi-secoSpanish – Wines of medium-dry sweetness

SmargdAustrian – Wines that are full-bodied and often made from late(r) harvested grapes

SoleraSpanish – A fractional blending system where young wines refresh and mix with older wines, most important in Sherry production

SpatleseGerman – Pradikat category for wines that have been made from late-harvested grapes resulting in off-dry to medium-dry wines in sweetness

SpumanteItalian – Sparkling wines

SteinfederAustrian – Wines that are light in body 

Sur lieFrench – A wine that has been aged on its lees for a period of time



Tannin – Is the chemical compound in the skins and seeds of grape varieties that gives the wines the drying sensation in the mouth – also found in tea 

TenutaItalian – A wine estate 

TintoPortuguese and Spanish – Red wine 

Traditional Method – The method of sparkling wine that has been bottle-fermented and was developed in the Champagne region 

TrockenGerman – A dry wine 

TrockenbeerenausleseGerman – Pradikat category that refers to the sweetest wines produced, they are produced from individually picked grapes that have been heavily infected with Botrytis



Vendange TardiveFrench – A term used in Alsace that refers to wines that are from late-harvested grapes

Vieilles VignesFrench – Old vines, not a legal term