If you’re just starting to build your knowledge about wine, you’ll encounter some terminology used in the science and art of winemaking that you probably never heard before.

To help you get acquainted with this lingo, we visited Newport Vineyards Winemaker George Chelf in his lab and asked him to explain a few popular winemaking terms in his own words. Get familiar with these terms and you’re on your way to impressing your oenophile friends.

From Newport Vineyards Winemaker George Chelf:

Astringency – In red wines usually associated by drying out of your pallet caused by tannins. In white wines, usually a balance of sugar to acid. In both cases balance is the key.

Bouquet – the smell derived from the winemaking process (fermentation, oak contact etc.)

Brix – measurement of sugar content in grapes/grape juice.

It indicates the ripeness of the fruit and amount of alcohol that can be produced from the fruit at that time.

Cuveé – First pressed (indicating a cleaner juice) or a blend of grapes rather than one varietal.

Nose – usually refer to the smell of the wine


Tannin
– comes from the skins, seeds and stems of wine grapes.

Because red juice is fermented on the skins, it shows tannins more readily, also acts as a natural perforative.

Note – seeds and stems usually have a harsher tannin which we try not to incorporate into the wine, I.e. We try and keep stems out and not break the seeds in our winemaking process.

Ullage – the loss of wine through evaporation during oak aging.

Vintage – the year in which the grapes are picked – not the year when the wine was bottled or released.

If you want to learn more about wines, wine pairing, and wine terminology, sign up for Newport Vineyards’ Milk & Honey Wine and Cheese Classes on Thursday, October 27th or Thursday, November 17th.

 [Full Disclosure: Newport Vineyards is a current advertiser on this site.]

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