Terminology You Need to Know

If you’re thinking of making your own wine, it helps to be aware of the terminology you’ll come across. As a complete novice, you may not be aware of the terms used in the industry. This can make it tricky when it comes to making wine as you won’t understand all of the instructions.


To help, here we’ll take a look at some of the most common wine making terminology you need to know.


ABV – This stands for Alcohol By Volume and it relates to the concentration of the wine. The ABV lets you know how strong the alcohol content is.


Aerobic Conditions – Some types of wine need to be made in aerobic conditions. This means they are exposed to oxygen in order to age.


Barrel Aged – Many wines are barrel aged, and it is a process you will more than likely follow yourself when making wine. It basically means leaving the wine to mature in a barrel.


Bung – A bung is a barrel stopper which can be made from plastic, glass or silicone. It is used to fill the bung hole found in the barrel, the same way as a cork.


Carbonic Gas – During the fermentation period, a byproduct known as carbonic gas is created. Most of it will rise to the surface, though some will stay within the wine. If the vessel is closed off, the gas won’t have anywhere to escape and it will seep back into the wine, creating a sparkling variety.


Complex – The word complex is used to describe wines with a lot going on. It could be they have lots of different flavors, alongside different depths.


Crisp – Crisp is another word used to describe a type of wine. Generally speaking, a crisp wine is a little tart and has a higher acid content. It tends to go well with food.


Decant – This term is used to describe transferring the wine from the bottle to a container. It could be used to separate the sediment from red wine, for example.


Dry – A wine that is dry won’t have any sweetness to it. You’ll also find it dry in the mouth.


Fermentation – The fermentation process is basically the time it takes before the wine can be bottled. It includes adding yeast and sugar to the wine, allowing it to break down the fruit for a smooth and flavorful result.


Fortification – Fortification relates to adding strong alcohol to the wine. It should be between 77% and 98% proof. This is what will give strength to the wine and it can be added before, during or after fermentation.


Lees – Lees is the sediment that is left over from the fermentation process. It needs to be removed before the wine is bottled.


Mature – When the wine is ready to drink, it is said to be mature.


These are a selection of common winemaking terms you need to know. It is worthwhile researching and writing a list of the entire winemaking terms. That way, you will better understand what you are doing when you are following instructions.

Categories: Wine Making